Though Ryan and Kaylee Williams have each been playing music since they were children, they are only now preparing to release their first batch of tunes recorded together. The brother-sister, indie-folk duo call themselves The Native Sibling—an appropriate moniker considering the two were born and raised in Aptos. "Growing up in Santa Cruz had a big influence on our music," Ryan says. "But it's one of those things that you don't really realize until you leave." Currently, the two live outside of this seaside town—Ryan in Venice Beach and Kaylee in Davis, where she is attending college. Santa Cruz is still home, although figuring out exactly what "home" means—in a deeper sense—has been tricky for the pair over the past few years.
"Home was something that kind of had to be redefined about four years ago," Ryan says. After the death of their mother, the members of The Native Sibling did a lot of soul searching. The result of that soul searching, he says, can be heard on their soon-to-be released EP, and is encapsulated well in the collection's lead single, "Follow Trees." A slow, mournful tune, "Follow Trees" wanders aimlessly through half remembered dreams. Percussion is subtle and understated but keeps a steady pulse. "Whistle to a dog with one response/ calling for the children all at once/ a moment gone too far, too far undone," Kaylee sings over mellow acoustic guitar strumming, banjo picking, and twangy, reverb-soaked slide guitar swells, as her brother occasionally supports her with forlorn harmony. The title of the track, "Follow Trees" almost begs for one more word: "Home." As if, perhaps, Kaylee were to follow the ancient redwoods of the Santa Cruz mountains, she might find that place where she grew up—perfectly preserved, just as she always remembered it.
INFO: Visit facebook.com/TheNativeSibling for details about the band’s new EP, set for release later this month. Photo: Erica Sergio