The two vocalists are the heart of Echo Farm. If you see them on stage side by
side, you'd guess they were sisters. They've known each other for so long, they might as
well be. The two first sang together in choir and musicals while in uniform at Marian High
School. After graduation, Anderson and guitarist Allison Ravnholdt performed in Lavender
Couch, one of the area's top female-led bands in the mid-'90s. Rotert moved back to Omaha
shortly after that band broke up and started singing with Anderson again. After hearing a
demo by the two, bassist Brad Dienstbier, formerly of Rosegarden Funeral, joined with
recruit Sikora (who had played with Dienstbier in The Beef Curtains) to form Echo Farm in
They count among their influences Fleetwood Mac, Ani Difranco, Marvin Gaye, Joni
Mitchell and Trip Shakespeare. But most of the songs on their new CD more closely resemble
the works of the super-popular Lillith Fair bands, such as Sarah McLachlin and the Indigo
Girls. The tracks are quiet, acoustic love songs with a ticklish rhythm guitar, the
occasional keyboard and a solid bottom provided by Sikora and Dienstbier. There are
exceptions, such as "Back in Line," "This Hungry Girl" and
album-closer "Water of my Luck," which sport a rougher, heavier sound that
harkens back to Throwing Muses or Madder Rose.
"We really try to mix it up," Anderson says. "There's a lot of bands out
there that put out CD after CD of songs that sound alike. You listen to Third Eye Blind or
Sublime, and everything sounds the same. That familiarity sells records, but doesn't
necessarily make good records."
"Emotions drive us," Rotert says. "Whether it's quiet or loud, we follow
the personality of the song."
"We have a hard time getting a huge number of people to our shows," Anderson
adds, "because when you don't have a distinct sound, people don't really know you.
I'd rather have five people in the room that know us than 500 who could care less."
The band hopes to attract a larger crowd than that when they host a CD-release party
Oct. 9 at Sokol Auditorium, with special guest Matt Wilson formerly of Trip Shakespeare.
It's part of plan to push the CD as hard as possible locally and develop a larger
following. With the current popularity of female-fronted bands, Echo Farm certainly has
the ingredients and talent to move up to the next level of success. Anderson and Rotert
say they're willing to do what it takes, whether its touring or signing a deal with a
label, though no one in the band seems to expect fame and fortune.
"We all want to be able to make a living doing this," says Anderson.
"Actually, I want a rocket car," quips Sikora.
"And a solid gold house,' says Dienstbier.
But when Anderson adds, "Every one of us has the rock star dream," the rest
of the band quickly says, "I don't."
"It's a fine line between doing this for a living and being rock stars,"
"I just want to have a long-standing body of work," Anderson says.
"Bands like Husker Du or Everything But the Girl have always been able to do this and
have people say 'I love what you do,' and can still go into a Target store and buy toilet
paper without a bodyguard. I don't ever want to regret any part of this."
"I think we have a lot going for us because we have this family thing going,"
says Rotert. "No matter what goes on, I feel we're going to take care of each other.
I just took out a huge loan to finish this project. I can't imagine anyone in this band
would hang us out to dry. We watch out for each other. I feel safe in this crowd."
to the profiles home)
Originally printed in The Reader October 8, 1998.
Copyright © 1998 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
||When Anderson adds, "Every one of
us has the rock star dream," the rest of the band quickly says, "I don't."
Yeah, but is it any good?
Find out for yourself.
Listen to to the track "Back in
Line" online at BZP Jukebox.