By Kara Martinez Bachman
It’s delightful to watch a performance by The Cody Sisters Band. Take in just a few of this Colorado-based trio’s online videos, and you’ll feel a notably lighter mood and will inevitably think: They look so happy.
They jam with an innocent lilt that rubs off on the listener with ease and relay a joy that’s almost palpable; it’s clear they love music. Half-a-song in, and you won’t help but grin right along with them.
The Cody Sisters Band includes 15-year-old Megan Cody, vocalist, guitarist, and mandolinist who took first place at the 2016 New Mexico Flatpicking Competition; her teen sister, Maddie, who at her young age is already singing, writing songs, playing banjo, guitar and mandolin, and who is described as a “Young Loretta Lynn or Hazel Dickens”; and the girls’ dad, upright bass player Steve Cody, who provides the low-down rhythm.
“We’re not a traditional bluegrass sounding band,” Steve Cody said. They describe their music as a blending of “old time, swing, gypsy jazz, jazz, folk and modern bluegrass.”
Cody explained that the youthfulness of his girls results in fiddle tunes that are notably absent of adult issues of loss or suffering. To be honest, this is just as it should be, and is why the music is a potent antidote to feeling low.
“They write their own music,” he said. “They write a lot of positive-message stuff.”
Cody himself actually started out as a juggler and comedian, skills he said aid in putting on a better show. He said he’s taught the girls how to engage an audience by telling jokes but admits he sometimes “forgets” that they haven’t spent several years working as a comic as he had.
In the past he’s played piano, guitar, mandolin, banjo, great highland bagpipes, and even the penny whistle. It’s only in recent years, though, that he’s been plucking at the upright bass. He took to the bass because the girls needed someone to back their gentle harmonies and expert pickin’.
“I was a festival guy, I’d go to festivals as a fan and jam in the circles when I could,” he explained. He wanted his kids to experience that feeling that comes with sharing music, so put guitars in their hands.
Pretty soon, his daughters were burning up the strings.
“They got better than me quickly,” he said. “I think I saw it actually happen.” He was in a jam with one of them and right there on the spot, came to the realization they’d both eclipsed him on guitar.
He said his wife is “a great supporter of our bluegrass habit,”
so she was fine with him picking up the bass and starting to perform for audiences. Since that time, they’ve all honed their skills even more. Having attended the school for artistically talented children, Denver School of the Arts, both sisters major in guitar and perfect their craft for an hour-and-a-half each school day.
Although Cody jokingly worries that one day he’ll be replaced by a young, good-looking bass player, the girls have made no hard-and-fast future plans. As for now, though, they seemed headed down a path that leads straight to the professional folk community.
In 2017 they released in digital the indie album “Strings,” and released their sophomore album White on The Blue on Aug. 31, 2018. When we first spoke to The Cody Sisters band, they had, “…seven tracks right now, but might add our own takes on some standards.” The album released August 2018 and includes new originals.
The debut recording had garnered attention in England, so in addition to dates in the U.S., so they did a two-week, 15-night summer tour. Cody explained that they’d never never done England before and were really excited about it.
“Ultimately, what I like about this whole thing is this is just like two girls who sit on the edge of their beds and make music,” explained the proud father. No doubt, that’s why the music seems so fresh and unpretentious.
At the band’s website, a written comment made clear just how fortunate he thinks his family is to have so much fun together. Wherever the path leads, it seems clear it’s been an absolute blast.
“I just buckled up and went along for the ride,” Cody commented. “Really, all I wanted to do was play music with my kids after dinner or on the weekends. I got lucky in a way that I couldn’t imagine.”