New Album From Sister Act SHEL Marries Folk with Pop, Synth

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Photo: SHEL album cover Just Crazy Enough

The first notes of the new album from Fort Collins band SHEL will sound familiar to fans, with a strumming mandolin and the distinctive voice of lead singer Eva Holbrook.

But from there the song, called "Is The Doctor In Today," and the album, "Just Crazy Enough," build in intensity, adding add pop elements and synthesizers. The progression from their traditional indie-folk sound is in part thanks to a new collaboration with producer Dave Stewart, who was part of the British pop duo Eurythmics.

SHEL is a group of four sisters: Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza Holbrook. Hannah, who plays keys and is the eldest, and Eva, the lead vocalist and mandolin player, spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner about the new album and songs like this cover of Metalica's "Enter Sandman."

"Just Crazy Enough" is scheduled for release May 13. SHEL will play this Friday in Lyons and Saturday in Colorado Springs.

Click the audio player above to hear their conversation, and read interview highlights below.

Eva on the meaning behind "Is The Doctor In Today":

"It's one of the ones that's hardest to talk about because it's so emotional. ... things that are hard to open up about and things that I only opened up about recently with the band when everybody really took a liking to the song. And I like to say that I don't have to talk about what it personally meant to me because I don't want to ruin what it means for other people.

"I did notice that even though people didn't know my story when they heard it, it still meant something to them because it was telling their story I guess. It's nice to have a piece of artwork that does that. ... It was both despair and hope -- feeling both of those emotions in such a conflicting way at a point in my life when I had so little time to feel anything."

Hannah on sacrifices she's made to stay in the band:

"No matter who you are or where you're going, if you're touring ... and you want to be in a relationship you know it's going to be a long distance, unless that person is on the road with you constantly. For me personally, I've sacrificed relationships or getting married or whatever because this is so important to me right now. This is my dream right now. And those things will have to come later."

Eva on how she prepares to perform:

"I"m always remembering what was going on when I wrote that song. And when I get up there, I'm always nervous when I get on stage. So a lot of the time, I'm thinking, 'OK, relax.' ... There's a story that has kind of evolved as I was writing [each song]. So I'm seeing this story play out in my head when I'm playing it, which is why there are so many pictures of me with this weird look."