In just a few short years, Wellfleet’s Ariel, Sarah, Nora, Rose, and Lydia Parkington have gone from busking on the streets of Provincetown to sold-out concerts and national tours. Today, this band of sisters hit the stage with violins and a cello. They are fearless, playing music that one can’t readily dance to, nor even really sing along with, yet they transfix audiences. They are bright, articulate young women. There’s just one question they can’t answer: What does their music sound like?
The sisters’ range is considerable, and their influences are not always apparent. They often close shows with a Radiohead cover. But at the conclusion of a recent performance at the Jailhouse in Orleans, even as sustained applause faded and the sisters began to file off stage, Rose playfully began the familiar keyboard intro to “Jump,” Van Halen’s pop-metal paean from 1984, an album that came out four years before she was born.
“They transcend genres,” says Chris Blood, an independent Cape Cod producer who recorded tracks for the Parkington Sisters’ debut Eagle and the Wolf EP. “I tell people what they’re not. They’re not classical, they’re not folk. Not pop, exactly. Their music has a timelessness that doesn’t sound traditional. That’s really hard to do.”