Sisters Rebecca, Rachael, and Kat Wolff spent their childhood listening to ’60s rock and immersing themselves in the nature of New England. More than anything else, their adventures hiking the White Mountains in New Hampshire and spending summers by the seashores of Cape Cod—as well as being raised by two musical parents—led them to form the Wolff Sisters.
These days, they’re a Boston-bred, women-fronted band of, evidently, siblings. And they’re nominated for their first Boston Music Award in the Folk Artist of the Year spot.
Since the band blends blues, rock, folk, and country into songs, it doesn’t squeeze neatly into just one category. The sisters look to old and new artists as muses—from Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones, who their parents exposed them to as kids, to modern performers they admire, like Brandi Carlile and the Avett Brothers.
From the time when their kids were young, the Wolff parents tried to instill the importance of music and nature in them. Each sister learned how to play the piano as a child and started performing small gigs at coffee shops and talent shows in high school. When they weren’t playing live, their parents encouraged them to spend time outside, spurring them to hike and swim.
Kat says that while they have been on adventures in other states, nothing moves them quite like New England—it’s the reason this is still their home and why they write their songs here.
During their time as a band, Rachael, Rebecca, and Kat say they’ve built a stronger relationship as siblings. They speak about a unique connection that makes rehearsals and shows easier; they grew up together, and they’re able to communicate on the same wavelength.
“We have each other’s backs and we want everybody to succeed,” Rachael tells the the Dig. “We’re not out for ourselves, we’re out for each other.”
Although the Wolffs have rocked together since their high school days, they didn’t become a pro unit until three years ago, after graduating college. In the time since, they’ve released two albums, Cahoon Hollow and Ramblin, and started to perform with the Last Cavalry, a duo that packs drummer Will Rodriguez and bass player Joe Soldati. When the five get on stage together, they perform, naturally, as the Wolff Sisters & the Last Cavalry.
Whatever form they take, the sisters say they work hard to ensure that fans get the same experience in concert as they enjoy at home. Or even more…
“I think we all get lost in the music when we’re on stage in our own way,” Kat says. “To see that type of passion, and people up there just kind of going crazy and having fun, hopefully it spreads to the audience and they want to have fun too.”
Around here, the Wolffs gig at the cozy likes of Atwood’s Tavern, Lizard Lounge, and Club Passim. They say the Hub has given them a great platform to share their music, and in the process they’ve made made deep, lasting connections with fellow musicians, all of which has helped them get out to perform in other states.
“At our live shows, we really want people to be in the moment,” Rachael says. She says her goal is to share stories and feelings that people relate to: “[We hope to] write catchy enough songs that they can sing the chorus after the show is done or at least sing the tunes.”
The band’s latest album, Cahoon Hollow, was released earlier this year, and the group will head back to the studio this spring to record new music. Their ultimate goal is to tour most of the year and perform at festivals and venues like the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado they have long wanted to play.
“Our other goal is to just write a song that lasts, a song like ‘The Weight’ by the Band,” Rachael adds. “To have a song where everybody can sing it for generations to come.”
THE WOLFF SISTERS. SAT 10.27. THE PLOUGH AND STARS, 912 MASS. AVE., CAMBRIDGE. 10PM/21+/$5. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE BMAS, VISIT BOSTONMUSICAWARDS.COM.