Feature: An interview with Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley on Evelyn Evelyn

(photo by Scott Irvine)

by David Chiu

It’s not often that one comes across a pop musical act whose performers are conjoined twins, especially ones whose musical styles border on cabaret, vaudeville, Tin Pan Alley, folk and ‘80s pop. This is especially true of twin sister act Evelyn Evelyn, the latest project spearheaded by musicians Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley. Touted as “the only conjoined twin singer-songwriter duo in the world” by their press reps, and versed in playing instruments from the ukulele to the accordion, Evelyn Evelyn may have emerged as one of 2010’s most interesting and intriguing artists.

Based out of Walla Walla Washington, the twins, Lyn and Eva Neville, both 24, have just released their self-titled album this past spring and are currently on tour. According to their press bio, the twin sisters have traveled the greater part of North America performing with ‘Dillard & Fullerton’s Illusive Traveling Show.’” Later the twins caught the attention of Palmer and Webley, who aided them in the making of the record.

The autobiographical ‘Evelyn Evelyn’ album definitely has a heavy theatrical bent musically, which is reflected on the trilogy of songs “The Tragic Events of September” as well as the title track and “Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn,” whereas other songs deviate from that style such as a folk cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and the wild ‘80s arena rock tribute “My Space.” And while the lyrics are certainly about the sisters’ close relationship (figuratively and literally), they also provide social commentary, whether it’s about marketing exploitation and pop culture. Yet there are also moments of whimsy and humor like on the child-like sing along “Elephant Elephant.”

As for Palmer and Webley, the folks behind Evelyn Evelyn, their relationship goes back to circa 2000 when the two met as street performers in Australia, says Webley. “At the time I was starting a collaboration project, trying to write a handful of songs with different musician friends around the world. Amanda agreed to take a stab with me, which I am very grateful for. Evelyn Evelyn and our friendship grew out of that process. “

NewBeats recently had a chance to speak via e-mail with Palmer and Webley on behalf of the twins, about the origins of the project, the music, and the sisters’ future plans. Continue reading “Feature: An interview with Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley on Evelyn Evelyn”