Singing sisters of Joseph making national splash

The Closner sisters are riding a rocket right now.
Allison, Natalie and Meegan Closner of folk band Joseph.
Allison, Natalie and Meegan Closner of folk band Joseph.

The Closner sisters are riding a rocket right now.

Their American folk band, Joseph, released a single — “White Flag” — in May. The song reached the top slot on the Adult Alternative Songs chart in October.

Joseph played their hit before a national audience in June, during an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

The trio’s second album, “I’m Alone, No You’re Not,” came out in August and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s “Heatseekers” chart.

The year has also put the band on the “Ellen,” “Conan” and “CBS This Morning” stages.

“We’re completely blown away by everything that’s happened,” said Natalie Closner, the trio’s ringleader and senior member. “But my dad told me when I started singing in 2009 that every overnight success takes many years.

“I think that definitely feels very true,” Closner added. “Meegan, Allie and I have been doing this three, almost four years now and everything has been absolutely incredible. At the same time, you’re in the middle of it so it’s hard to see from the outside how crazy it looks — you’re the one moving around and putting your own body in all these places.”

The Joseph rocket lands in Albany on Tuesday, playing a 7:30 p.m. show at The Egg in the Empire State Plaza. Closner promises singer-songwriter pop mixed with lots of honesty and lots of soul.

The women are all from Portland, Oregon, and formed when Natalie, who was working as a solo singer-songwriter, thought she needed a little more firepower. She recruited her younger twin sisters for the project that would become Joseph, named for the Oregon town where the ladies’ grandfather, Jo Hallam, was raised … and where they spent many happy times during their adolescence.

“They didn’t know I was serious, I didn’t really know I was serious,” Closner said. “I just knew the music I was making really needed something. It started out with them just singing background to my songs. The first couple times we did it, I knew in the back of my head, ‘Oh, wow, this is going to be important.’ But they didn’t understand what that would mean. You know, they were like, ‘Suurrre, we’ll team up with you.’ I think there were a few times where we would book a show and then one or the other would say, ‘Oh, I can’t make it to that one.’ ”

Meegan and Allison were looking for new careers at the time.

“They had both just kind of quit college and were re-calibrating,” said Closner, at 29 the older sister by four years. “Meegan was working at a small, locally owned grocery store in Seattle and Allie was working across the street at a bakery and coffee shop. They were both re-evaluating.”

The younger sisters’ re-evaluation for music has ended the casual approach. Joseph is a professional outfit now, and some compositions have become  group efforts. “Even if a song comes from one of us, it’s almost always brought to the table and everyone contributes, fleshing it out,” Closner said.

The new album, Closner said, deals with the tensions that come with different things.

“It deals with longing and having and there are a lot of loneliness themes,” Closner said. “There’s this feeling of fear and how do we respond to fear? Meegan wrote a song called ‘Honest’ and in it she’s describing this back-and-forth narrative in her head where she’ll hear herself say, ‘I’m alone,’ and then she’ll sense, ‘No, you’re not.’ I think that idea really encapsulates a lot of the songs because it’s kind of two opposing truths, and how you hold up.”

Part of the Joseph fun is the set-up — Closner loves the three-voice sound.

“I think there’s something really compelling about the idea that more than one person is saying the same thing at the same time and meaning it,” she said. “Three people are singing this idea and it means something different for each of them. And that feels powerful. I also think just sonically, the opportunity to harmonize and fill that out gives you so many chances for dynamics and power and softness. It just creates a range of possible feelings and possible sounds.”

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