Singer-songwriter-guitarist Pierre Mulvey and other Milwaukee locals, the in-demand dynamic duo SistaStrings have teamed up again for a brand new studio album, Love Is The Only Thing, which will be released August 12th on Righteous Babe Records. A self-proclaimed anti-fascist record, Love Is The Only Thing keeps kindness and compassion front and center, following a similar musical path to Live at the Café Carpe by Mulvey and SistaStrings, released in late 2020 and, like the new album, features drummer Nathan Kilen to complete the set. Fans can pre-order or pre-register Love Is The Only Thing now at this link and get acquainted with the brilliant sound of Mulvey and SistaStrings by watching Live at Café Carpe here.
SistaStrings – cellist-vocalist Monique Ross and violinist-vocalist Chauntee Ross – bring all the beautiful versatility of their music for cello and violin – as well as strong vocal harmonies for siblings – to Love Is The Only Thing. Classically trained string players who grew up singing in church, Monique and Chauntee were destined to defy gender and racial conventions, blending R&B, gospel and classical sounds. Mulvey met the Rosses in 2016, and all three felt an instant kinship. “Peter has been the complete definition of an ally. We found a home in the folk/Americana realm when we started working with Peter and it gave our career the direction it was missing,” says Monique.
The bright light of the family illuminates this disc and all that contributed to its realization. Its existence depends on how we take care of each other, from its fan-supported funding to the Café Carpe sanctuary to the blood brotherhood of the Rosses and the found fatherhood of Mulvey. “This album is basically a happy family song, then a shit song, then a family song, then a shit song,” laughs Mulvey. And making Love Is The Only Thing at such a tumultuous time in history reinforced Mulvey and SistaStrings’ role as activists just as much as musicians. “Finding refuge and rejuvenation in these songs with this group of musicians was healing and personally kind of a mission statement of why we even make music in the first place,” Chauntee recalled.
Love Is The Only Thing explores the loss, the tension and the love that takes us through this. Folk classic “Shenandoah” yearns for a kinder America, while “Old Men Drinking Seagram’s” is a snapshot of a small town full of hate. “Soft Animal” offers tender sensuality, while “On the Eve of the Inaugural” finds the narrator caring for a baby in a stranger’s car. “Song for Michael Brown” is a humble plea for compassion for Brown and for all of us who live under the threat of violence and hatred. Some songs are more about the loneliness of the pandemic and its downside of love and togetherness. “You and (Everyone Else)” addresses pandemic loneliness and fear for the safety of others, while “Five Hundred Days” promises happy reunions. That promise is kept on “Early Summer of ’21,” a catchy song about a day when it’s sure to hug everyone, line up for tacos, and feel free again.
The disc ends with the title track, a Chuck Prophet cover. With jangly acoustic guitar, driving drums, bold strings and an anthemic chorus, it’s the sound of musicians having fun together. It’s also a reminder that it’s not easy to create a better world, but ultimately this work reveals our humanity. “Love is a thing that hurts / Oh, but love is the only thing,” Mulvey and SistaStrings say in the chorus. It is then abundantly clear that love songs and protest songs have always been pretty much the same thing.
Love Is The Only Thing Tracklist:
O my dear (the demagogue)
Old men drinking Seagram’s
You and (everyone else)
Beginning of summer 21
five hundred days
On the eve of the inauguration
pray for rain
Song for Michael Brown
love is the only thing
Catch Peter Mulvey on tour:
June 10 – Mio, MI – Northeast 2022
June 12 – Rockford, IL – Meridian Music Shed
June 23-25 – Fort Atkinson, WI – The Shi*unauts Live at The Cafe Carp
July 9-10 – New Bedford, MA – New Bedford Folk Festival
July 28 – Portsmouth, NH – Portsmouth Music Hall with Mark Erelli
July 29 – Brownfield, ME – Stone Mountain Arts Center with Mark Erelli
July 30 – Concord, NH – Capitol Center for the Arts with Mark Erelli
August 18 – Sandwich, NH – John Davidson’s Club Sandwich
For more tour dates and ticket information, please visit petermulvey.com
Catch SistaStrings on Tour:
June 21 – Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara Bowl*
June 24-25 – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theater*
August 5 – Milwaukee, WI – Fiserv Forum*
August 6 – Chicago, IL – Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island*
August 11 – Salt Lake City, Utah – Vivent Arena*
August 18 – Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion #
August 19 – Bethel, NY – Bethel Woods Center for the Arts#
August 20 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Mann Center For The Performing Arts#
August 24 – London, UK – Omeara ^
September 9-10 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks#
September 25 – Bridgeport, CT – Sound on Sound 2022*
October 22 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden*
* with Brandi Carlile
^ performing with Allison Russell
#performance with Allison Russell and Brandi Carlile