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SHEL Brings Sisterly Sounds to Americana Music Festival

SHEL is a quartet of sisters from Fort Collins, Colorado: Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza Holbrook. They were all born within five years of each other and raised and home-schooled by a professional songwriter father and an artist mother. They’ve been performing together for around a dozen years.

Their self-titled debut album, released two years ago, blends instrumental virtuosity with complex vocal harmonies to create a unique mix of indie folk, pop and classical music. They say their biggest influences growing up were the Beatles and the Marx Brothers. SHEL is the headlining act at the Americana Music Festival at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City Saturday evening.

Sarah and Eva joined Dakota Midday and discussed the music they create together as SHEL.

Karl was born to northeastern South Dakota crouton farmers, but was orphaned as a toddler during the Great Salad War (1966-67). Rescued by a flock of chickadees, he grew up in the woodlands of Sica Hollow. Legends of a bird boy living in the trees attracted the interest of renowned ornithologist and amateur bandoneon repairman Dr. Vogel Gehrke. With a handful of suet, Dr. Gehrke coaxed the timid boy down from the trees. He adopted him, named him Karl and taught him not to molt on the carpet. Dr. Gehrke’s book, The Bird Boy of Sica Hollow, was a best seller and Karl became a minor celebrity and teen idol. He appeared as a guest star on numerous television programs, most notably an awkward role on The Love Boat as the boyfriend of Captain Stubing’s daughter, Vicki. After critics panned his 1980 album, Bird Boy Does Disco, Karl retreated from public life and returned to Sica Hollow. Living in an isolated tree house, Karl achieved a reputation as a mystic. Pilgrims and seekers from around the world came to ask him about the meaning of life and for vinaigrette recipes. Growing tired of answering questions, he climbed down from his tree, shaved his massive white beard and took a job as the host of SDPB Radio’s Dakota Midday where he could ask the questions instead. After three years in that position, he ran out of questions and became host of Jazz Nightly instead. Karl makes his home in Vermillion with his charming wife Kari and three delightful children, Kodey, Kasey and Spatula. His hobbies include reciting the alphabet, combing his hair and doing volunteer work with delinquent songbirds.
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