The Families That Sing Together, Pt. 1: The Haden Triplets


It’s always seemed to me that family voices blend like no others. On the brother side we’ve got the Monroes, the Louvins, the Delmores and the Everlys just as openers. Sisters? The McGarrigles, the Roches, the McGuires, the Boswells and the Andrews Sisters are only the beginning. And don’t forget Tim and Molly O’Brien, The Staples Singers, The Kendalls, even Donnie and Marie! They’re all family, and nobody sings together like family.

Here’s the first of what I’m planning as a series of occasional posts featuring families that sing together, the better to appreciate these beautiful harmonies.

Charlie Haden is best known for his work as a jazz bassist; he performed on Ornette Coleman’s groundbreaking Free Jazz LP and later led the Liberation Music Orchestra, but he’s also the father of the Haden triplets, Rachel, Petra and Tanya.

While all the sisters sing, Rachel, like her dad, has worked most frequently as a bassist, including a recent tour with Todd Rundgren. Tanya, who’s married to the actor Jack Black, has been associated with many California bands, mostly as a cellist. Petra is a vocaliist as well as a violinist, and one of her projects was a solo a cappella recreation of The Who Sell Out. She sang all the parts herself and even did the recording – you’ve got to hear it to believe it. After the record came out, she toured it with a ten-woman chorus: just an amazing sound.

Petra, Tanya and Rachel perform as the Haden Triplets on father Charlie’s superb new CD, Family and Friends – Rambling Boy. This CD reaches back to Charlie’s roots as a young country and western star (really young – he made his first appearance on his parents’ show at the age of 22 months) and brings the whole family (and some famous guests) together on record for the first time.

The video is a live performance of Single Girl, Married Girl,  a cover of the Carter Family tune the original of which appears on the Harry Smith Anthology. The Triplets do a studio version on Rambling Boy. Please enjoy!


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