The Vogts Sisters: Old Mountain Music

THE VOGTS SISTERS ARE an Americana-Folk duo from the midwest with soft, haunting voices fluttering together in perfect harmony over their special blend of ethereal, finger-picking goodness. The sisters compliment each other in an otherworldly way, their harmonies unexpected and seamless. They've got something special, and their latest album is the perfect one to add to your forest-wandering playlist. Each and every song on the album is impeccably arranged, produced and performed. There's not a single skip, each track teaming with its own unique magic that brings the entire body of work together in a beautiful way. The sisters are self-taught musicians, but they sound like old souls who've been singing for decades, evoking a peaceful spirit of American folk and Appalachian roots. We love the simplicity and mystical feeling of the arrangements, the smooth harmonies at times tugging at our heart strings, luring us in to listen to the next track. 

It seems like a lot of artists are moving towards a more folk sound, and the Vogts Sisters are a beautiful example of that, in their voices and in their simplicity. Folk and Americana are such underrated genres of music. The instrumentation is not over-produced; it's just very easy listening. Their music is something we'd listen to with headphones on and wander out into nature. There's an easy simplicity about the arrangements that would be perfect on movie soundtracks. "Lonesome Mountain Queen" sounds like it could be on The Hunger Games. Even their album artwork ties in to the folksy feel with beautiful drawings of birds done by a local artist.

Although they have an arsenal of original songs, the duo recently released an album of exquisite covers. Their 2023 release Songs That Keep Us Sane is full of their own folksy take on some well-known songs like "Jolene" and "Long Black Veil," with a few genre surprises like "Free Fallin," "With or Without You," "Silver Springs," and "These Dreams." Each song on the album is a stunning version, showcasing the Vogts sisters' artistry and affinity for musical production. We are struck by their pitch perfect harmonies and fluid arrangements of softly strummed guitar and mandolin, a fiddle dancing across the melody. Their sound is delicate and lovely, every bit of it steeped in emotional depth. A lot of their vocal delivery is breathy or falsetto, but sometimes they really belt on certain lines. Their arrangements are otherworldly, almost haunting at times. We're in the foggy hills of Appalachia, and it feels so good. Not too shabby for a couple of sisters from Kansas. 

Now that we are huge fans, we will be on the lookout for their next artistic endeavor. A creative photo shoot or a music video, perhaps? Picture them in a foggy field, wearing midwestern white gowns and a southern gothic vibe, set to one of their original songs... That would be pure magic.

The Vogts Sisters — Erie, Kansas
Americana / Folk / Country
Song Submitted: "Lonesome Mountain Queen"

Deitra Mag: Briefly tell us about yourself and your music. Also, tell us why you want to be featured in Deitra Magazine!

Abbey Vogts: We’re just a couple of sisters who fell into singing together! There isn’t a hard description for the genre we sing, but most house it under “Americana Folk.” 

Our mom (who is also our manager) noticed that Deitra Magazine was based in the Ozarks, and we are from Kansas, which is very cool. Plus, you feature a lot of folk/alternative music bands in your magazine.

Maggie Vogts: We are sisters from a small town, and we love writing and playing music. Not sure our work belongs in any particular genre... Americana, I guess. 

DM: What is your musical background?

Abbey: We don’t have any formal training, but our mom gave us piano lessons when we were very young. I was in choir throughout high school, where I learned a lot about breathing techniques and how to be much more of a perfectionist! When we acquired our stringed instruments, Maggie and I both took lessons from a local savant, Ron Oliphant. He helped expose us to straight bluegrass, which wasn’t and isn’t our forté. His expertise was a big part of our learning to play stringed instruments.

Our family is musical, though we weren’t very familiar with that part of our family history. Great uncles Bob & Harry, great aunts Marlene and Ruth, Grandma Judi and many more are quite musical! They grew up singing in choirs. Bob and Marlene even went to Germany and sang in a festival!

We grew up in a strong musical church. To this day, singing hymns amongst the congregation is something we treasure.

Maggie: We grew up listening to church hymns, family music, and country radio stations. Mom gave us piano lessons, and we also participated in a music group called Saving Grace. We took guitar lessons later on, and then branched out into fiddle and mandolin. I was out of high school before I got interested in singing or stringed instruments. So... it's never too late!

DM: What inspires you to create music? What do you love most about it?

Abbey: I suppose it starts with our love of a great song — one that makes you feel powerfully, something that is relatable. Words are very important to us, so when we hear music that hasn’t approached the lyrics carefully, it makes us sad. Words are meaningful, whether they’re written, spoken or sung.

It just so happens writing is a creative facet that Maggie and I both are capable of. For me, there’s nothing quite like the inspired feeling when words start clicking into place and the melody falls in line.

Maggie: Everything used to inspire me. A landscape, a documentary, a book. I could write a song in one sitting. Now that I have a growing family... time and quiet inspire me. I'm sure it's an unromantic notion. But honestly, there is very little quiet time to just reflect and get those juices going. So when I'm doing dishes and my son is playing quietly, I can be pretty darn productive. Which, anymore, means I might come up with one verse or phrase.

DM: How would you describe or classify your sound? Is there anything that inspires you to write or perform music in your particular genre?

Abbey: Usually, we fall in the “Americana/Folk” genre. Folk / Appalachian is how a lot of people describe our sound, which is incredible to hear considering we’re from Kansas!

I love the humble simplicity of old mountain music. There’s something mournful about it that speaks to people and the struggles they face. 

I love the humble simplicity of old mountain music.

Maggie: We don't try to classify ourselves anymore. We used to try, but we didn't really fit into any genre. Americana is broad, so that's where we go. We sing quietly, and I've heard people say we are laid back, and have a relaxed vibe. We just do our thing, and let listeners decide.

DM: Who writes the songs and what are they generally about? Do you have a favorite song of yours?

Abbey: For years, Maggie was the sole writer of the original music we’d sing (along with cover songs). In the last few years, I’ve also been writing songs to accompany the mix, which is exciting for us both!

I don’t have a favorite song, actually! Each song seems to have its place depending on the audience.

Maggie: We both write. We love American history, the good and the bad. Like it or not, our history is our foundation. If you can't learn from the pain of a past mistake, you'll never learn. That's what we try to write about — Truth.

Our favorite song is usually the most recent addition — the one we're excited about, the one we're prepping for an audience. Currently, we've got over a handful of these songs. So, lots of excitement, lots of work to do!

DM: Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?

Abbey: Speaking for myself, I suppose the inspiration comes from regular old life! History also plays a big part in the themes of our music. Songs usually start from a line that I really like. It honestly depends, though!

Maggie: Not sure how Abbey goes about this, but... I have no process. I just write it down when it comes.

DM: What is your favorite era of music to listen to?

Abbey: I don’t have a favorite era! There is so much amazing music, how can you pick just one?! In everyday life, I probably listen to classical and jazz the most. Bach's Christmas Oratorio really gets me through the winter season! But who doesn't love 70s and 80s music? 

Maggie: 70s and 80s.

For me, there’s nothing quite like the inspired feeling when words start clicking into place and the melody falls in line. 

DM: What do you love most about performing or recording music?

Abbey: The answer to this one is twofold for me.

Working out a song with my sister is special. It’s something we struggle through until we’re happy, then we get other people to listen and adjust some more!

Singing songs in front of a receptive group of people is exhilarating. It’s kind of like songs take flight.

Maggie: Sisters often feud, right? I won't deny we used to fight a lot. But time gets away, life gets busy, and suddenly I haven't seen Abbey in weeks. I love being around her, and being around our family when we travel to shows. And now my kids are becoming part of it, and I love that.

DM: Is there a fashion or art element to your music or stage performance? Do tell!

Abbey: I think we both wear clothes that we wouldn’t be super comfortable wearing on a normal day. Maggie and I are simple — t-shirt and jeans kinda people. Getting to dress up and wear a fun ensemble is part of the music too, I guess! We both love incorporating leather (because... it's timeless), breathable flowy styles (because it gets warm on stage), skirts, button-downs, dresses... and the list goes on.

Maggie: Believe it or not, this is the hardest question you've asked. Initially, I'd say we wear what we like, and to heck with fashion. But that's not true, is it? So after some reflection... I love Emmylou Harris and her styles through the years. There's a Western look about her at times, and a more bohemian look at others. If I were to emulate someone's style or fashion sense, I hope I would emulate Emmylou.

DM: We couldn’t help but notice the majority of your album artwork includes birds in some form or fashion. Is there any personal symbolism that either or both of you hold to them?

Abbey: Our mom really likes birds LOL. I’ve noticed that there are several songs with words and phrases like, “take wing,” “winging,” etc. I don’t know — we’ve never talked about a secret bird fascination!

For our most recent cover album, Songs That Keep Us Sane, we had a photoshoot at the historical fort in Fort Scott, KS. A lot of our new material (yes, new; nobody's heard it yet!) has an American history element. The fort seemed to be the perfect place to reflect our upcoming music.

Maggie: Nope. Brady Scott (Hutchinson, KS) is the artist behind our album art, and we love his birds. No symbolism, we just think they're pretty. He also came up with our logo(s), and one of those had a bird in it.

Singing songs in front of a receptive group of people is exhilarating. It’s kind of like songs take flight.    

DM: Have you had any particular hardships while pursuing music? How did you overcome those obstacles?

Abbey: Absolutely! We started singing places when we were still very young and hadn’t been playing instruments very long. Our confidence playing stringed instruments took a long time to develop. Forgetting words, chords, and more is something we had to figure out on the fly. You can’t plan for it! Having tough skin is part of the process.

We’ve sung in places we loved and hated — they both offer lessons to learn from. 

Maggie: No hardships that thousands of other performers didn't have to face. We've been fortunate.

DM: What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

Abbey: We try not to have high hopes! But if we’re being honest, it would be amazing to someday consider music something that is financially stable. If our music was featured in a movie (or movies), that wouldn’t hurt either.

Maggie: To just keep going and keep improving. We'd like to travel more, but it's getting harder and harder as life changes. DM

Website / Social Media / Links to music:
You can buy our music on our website:
Band Camp

Written by Jace Barton and Tamara Styer
Photographed by Dwight Ferguson

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