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M897 Artist Spotlight: November 2015

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Oh Brother Big Sister- It runs in the family

Story by LCC Radio Reporter Sarah Spohn

Oh Brother Big SisterPeople often say, “It runs in the family.” This Northern Michigan family is all too familiar with the phrase, and in their case, it refers to the musical talent running generations deep- spanning the decades.

Penny Jean (31) and her younger brother, Radel Rosin (25) grew up performing at a very young age on stage.

Originally from Frederic, MI and now residing in Grayling, the brother-sister duo officially began their current band, Oh Brother, Big Sister two years ago.

Describing their music as ‘an eclectic sensation,’ the band’s sound is influenced by The Beatles, The Civil Wars, Simon & Garfunkel and early jazz music.

Their sound is ever-changing, thanks to harmonies, arrangements and exploration with layers, didgeridoos and more.

Big sister Penny spoke about how the pair makes music.

“Radel plays many instruments (including a didgeridoo) and he loops them live into a Boss RC-30 loop machine,” she said. “He often adds vocal percussion with beatboxing and other vocal techniques as only a little brother could! We then layer harmonies on the track.”

Coming from a small town, described as ‘a small speck on the mitten,’ the two grew up as entertainers, performing on stage very early on.

“In our family you were on a stage at age three and usually in front of a sizable crowd too,” she said.

Penny spoke about the duo’s front-and-center stage time back in the early days.

Oh Brother Big Sister“We are the only two kids in our family,” Penny said of her and her brother. “Our parents have encouraged us to learn every musical thing we could. Our dad's family is extremely musical. All of our cousins are musicians as well. Zie Rosin (another Michigan Artist) and the band Barsie (based in Utah). We all grew up in the same small town, (most of us were homeschooled) and performed in variety shows, talent shows and parents all over the state.”

Rehearsing songs for fun, their aunt Stacey then encouraged them to think about music more seriously. The duo owes much of their performance ability to her, according to Penny.

“She booked us, wrote our material, choreographed and coached us constantly. It was really the best childhood ever.”

Despite growing up five years apart, Penny said the two have always been very close.

“We used to write songs together in our parents garage loft that they built to house our instruments and then stocked it with pretty much every instrument you can think of,” she said.

Aside from stocking a garage full of gear, Penny and Radel’s parents also taught them the impact of being positive.

“Our parents were awesome at teaching us the power of positive thinking and I think that has brought us where we are today,” Penny said. “If you can be a genuine, kind, responsible person you can do well at anything you want to do.”

Along with their parent’s support, the two credit much of their music ability even farther back to their grandparents who raised them on classic jazz music.

“Our grandparents did an awesome job of educating us in the music they loved. Our Grandpa Rosin was born in 1923 and has helped us develop a huge love for jazz,” Penny said.

And the musical family talent doesn’t stop there: one of their favorite Michigan artists is their cousin Zie Rosin. “We could listen to her original music forever,” Penny said.

Other local artist favorites include Aaron Dye. “He writes the songs you wish you would have,” said Penny.

“The Ragbirds have been one of Radel's favorites for a long time we will be playing another show with them on Radel's birthday this November. The Accidentals are of course another favorite!”

Working with fellow Michigan artists is a fresh outlet for the band’s creative arrangements.

“We have some fun collaborations coming up in our new album including three songs with The Accidentals. We have some live collaborations coming up as well with Kellerville and Knuckle Fuss.”

Oh Brother Big SisterOh Brother, Big Sister continues to dream big, touring nationwide and handling the business and booking side of things by themselves. While it’s a full-time job in itself, Penny also raises her four kids; but she can’t imagine it any other way.

“Our short time as Oh Brother Big Sister has been a bit of a whirlwind and we are loving every minute of it,” she said.

“We just returned from a two week tour we called the Head West Tour where we had the opportunity to meet up with our cousins and their band Barsie which was a blast. We honestly have just loved all of the support that we have received from everyone. It makes what we do so rewarding!”

Besides more touring through the mitten state and surrounding areas this winter and spring, the duo hopes to have their new full-length album, Thanks & Praise is also in the works, hoping to be released by Christmas.

While it may be ‘all in the family’ for this harmonizing duo, their family is growing day-by-day within the state’s soundscapes.

“Michigan's music scene is unlike any other,” she said. “We love the family that has formed in the music community and the fans are so supportive! Our recent tour was a blast but there really is no place like home!”


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