Get hip to a new sister act

Identical twin sisters Sarah and Claire Bowman have been writing and performing music together since they were young girls in Iowa. Sarah moved to New York City in 2004, where her acoustic strumming, incisive lyrics and expansive voice became ubiquitous in the anti-folk scene. She was soon joined by Claire and, billed together as The Bowmans, the two took off with their rich, silky and sometimes eerie harmonies.

Love for The Bowmans seems to be spreading all over the U.S. and Europe, due largely to their constant touring. Their live show is truly magical, at turns heartbreaking (“The Kitchen Song” and “The Slumber” have been known to bring tears to my eyes), joyful and hilarious. Sarah commands the stage with a quiet authority, matched by Claire’s frequent, refreshing role as comic foil. If you’re lucky, you’ll be treated to Claire taking lead vocals on “The Porker Song,” a plea for vegetarianism from a stuffed pig’s point of view that dates back to the early Iowa days. Really.

Television and radio are starting to get up to speed. Music from The Bowman’s 2007 debut LP, Far From Home, has been featured on a number of programs including “the lesbian episode” of MTV’s Engaged and Underage.

People have also gotten familiar with the twins through Sarah’s occasional night gig in the second chair of cello-rock band Rasputina, for which The Bowmans have also opened on many an evening. This year, they were asked to play the Paste Magazine Rock and Reel cruise alongside luminaries such as Shawn Colvin, Emmylou Harris and Patty Griffin.

The Bowmans are prepping to enter the studio again to lay down some new tracks. They’ll be working with producer Malcolm Burn (Patti Smith, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan) who seems like a great match for their material.

I’ve heard a lot of the songs that will likely be included, and they are top tier rip-your-heart-out-and-leave-you-an-achey-bloody-mess genius, except for those that are grade-A, make-you-bop-your-head-and-clap-your-hands-and-generally-grin-like-a-giddy-idiot delights — so basically, I’m excited.

Have you heard of The Bowmans? Do they sound like something you might be into?