VIDEO PREMIERE: The Whitmore Sisters Let Harmonies Soar on Folk-tinged Power Pop Tune “Learn to Fly”

Ghosts are always with us, waiting for the right moment, or reason, to reveal themselves. Then a song, a stretch of road, or someone’s laughter hits your ear, and suddenly you’re back in the moment, feeling the rush of emotions as if time never moved on. For Eleanor and Bonnie Whitmore, two of roots music’s most accomplished songwriter/ instrumentalist/ vocalists, the ghosts chose to appear right as Covid became entrenched — when live music evaporated and people were isolated from each other. 

Bonnie, whose four solo albums are all state-of-a-real-woman’s-heart jewels, decided to join sister Eleanor and her husband Chris Masterson in their Los Angeles closed circle for a break. Chris, who’s recorded four albums with his wife as The Mastersons, saw the visit as an opportunity to issue a practical mandate: If Bonnie was coming, it was time for the sisters to make an album. Not just an album, but “the album” — the musical inevitability that’s been simmering since a 22-year-old Eleanor was protecting her curly headed 15-year-old sister at gigs in local bars. The collection, along with two covers — a song by their pal Aaron Lee Tasjan (“Big Heart Sick Mind” and “On the Wings of a Nightingale” (written by Paul McCartney for iconic siblings The Everly Brothers) — was produced by Chris Masterson and completes Ghost Stories, their debut album set for release on January 21st, 2022 on Red House Records

“We’ve had a lot of loss, a couple of dead ex-boyfriends, and a lot of friends that have passed on – and writing about the grief, especially working towards this record, there’s been a lot to consider,” Bonnie says.

The sisters’ closeness and unconventional upbringing, not to mention their melodic sensibility and pure blood harmonies, create something truly special. 

“We have all these things that make us us,” Bonnie says. “Our mother was an opera singer; our father was a folk singer. When I heard Ian & Sylvia for the first time, I finally realized that song wasn’t our parents. That’s how we discovered music.”

Trained to fly as girls by a father who was an accomplished Navy Air carrier pilot, they were exposed to amphibious planes, jets, props and all sorts of aviation possibilities. Consequently, The Whitmores see the world from an above-the-world perspective. Marveling at the whimsy that comes with flying, they also acknowledge that flight allows you to see things in larger ways and make connections most people miss.

Ultimately, Ghosts Stories’ cathartic songs embrace the beauty and the experience of living. What came from lockdown and shared experiences —hiking the Grand Canyon at 5, playing bars at 15 or just embracing the beauty of living — is an album to take you places and make you feel so alive.

“Music should move people,” Eleanor affirms. “Or at least cause some kind of reaction. Sometimes it’s comforting, or you can rock out! I’ve always liked Woody Guthrie’s way of looking at it: “Music is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”

Today Glide is excited to premiere the video for the languidly sweeping “Learn To Fly,” a lush power-pop number that showcases The Whitmores’ gorgeous sisterly harmonies. It’s hard not to get swept up in the beauty of the tune as they lean into a dreamy sound that feels like the musical equivalent of drifting slowly through the clouds. The combination of acoustic and twangy electric guitar lend the song a touch of Americana and folk. Lyrically, the sisters explain the lessons absorbed from flying, letting them serve as a metaphor for coping with life without losing the beauty. The video manages to capture the chemistry between both Whitmores alongside their combined vocal talent.

The Whitmore Sisters (Bonnie and Eleanor) explain the inspiration behind the song:

This song in a lot of ways is inspired by our dad. He got his training in the Navy and then flew for Delta Airlines for 30 plus years. He had a passion for antique airplanes and still collects a variety of aircrafts. As a family we would often travel around in a small Cessna 180 to isolated places and he taught both of us to fly. Eleanor soloed at age 16 and got her license at 17, though Bonnie waited a little later. Our mom, also a pilot, would say it’s what qualifies us to be a Whitmore. You had to play an instrument, sing harmonies and fly a plane. 

Our parents met while working at Six Flags Over Texas and find it somewhat telling of their combined love for adventure. Not everybody can handle the feeling of loops and turns, but if you can stomach them, it can be exhilarating and I think that makes a good metaphor for life. We know we are all a product of our upbringing and our parents and taught us not to fear venturing into the unknown. With this song we wanted to try and capture melodically what that feels like to fly and with this video we got to expand on it visually. This video is a literal glimpse into some of our childhood memories with vintage footage shot by our parents overlapped with shots from the beautiful golden hour of the Palm Desert. We have Kimberley ZB and Ainjele Emme to thank for capturing the modern footage of us, along with the skillful editing by Sloane Lenz who married them all together. It was a really great experience to give an honest introduction into who The Whitmore Sisters really are. 


Photo credit: ZB Images

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