The Sound of Smith: Hannah and Maggie

Caroline Davis '17 Contributing Writer

I can’t think of a more quintessentially “Smith” experience than spending a Friday night watching Hannah and Maggie perform at the Iron Horse Music Hall. This duo, two Smith alumnae who hail from Sessions and Wilson House, respectively, returned to their old stomping ground this past Friday to play for a packed audience full of current students and fanatic locals. Their sweet vocals and laid-back rhythms filled both the small, intimate theater and the hearts of the audience members. It was a joyful, memorable, and relatively inexpensive way to spend an evening in NoHo. The show’s opener, Santina King, started the night off with a jazzier, more soulful sound, strumming on various guitars throughout her set while a friend backed her up on the drums and her father improvised on bass guitar. Her sound was reminiscent of a tamer Alanis Morissette along with high-caliber guitar skills. Hannah and Maggie entered to a wave of applause, most of which came from rowdy Smith fans proud to represent the band’s alma mater. They jive together in a special way, and their interspersed stories and chats with the audience between songs and guitar tunings were an added bonus to the concert, not to mention the informal beer runs Maggie’s dad made during the course of the night. Although Hannah is the more confident public speaker, both relay ease on stage and a genuine interest in their audience. The two finish each other’s sentences and crack each other up, which gets the whole house laughing. Watching them live is the complete package of quality music and comic entertainment. Meike Faber ‘17 said, “I had listened to them before, but they were even better live. Their energy was really great and fun to watch and their music is absolutely stunning.” From hilarious stories about car rides to more sentimental memories about graduation, their stories create a personal atmosphere that you don’t get at most concerts. “The Land & The Sea,” which Maggie performed at her senior banquet, nearly brought me to tears. The lyrics “and although we may find that these miles are unkind /There are roads left to roam and we’ll take our sweet, sweet time /Sticking pins in the map, drinking whiskey, drinking wine /If you stay with me I’ll make it worth your time” strike a chord with anyone who has ever had to move on in life or leave a comfortable situation. The same feelings appear in Hannah’s new song about being in love with her best friend from high school. She even confessed to the audience that she almost threw up when she sang it for the first time. Real moments like that make for such a unique concert experience. Hannah and Maggie were not alone on Friday, however; two friends joined them on stand-up bass and drums.  The addition created a full, rich sound that filled the small music hall in an intoxicating way. The show ended with an encore performance of “Warm Again,” which got the whole place singing at Hannah’s request. When the chorus revved up, the whole house was singing about getting in the car and riding down south until they felt warm again. It was a magical and freeing end to one of my favorite nights at Smith thus far. Hannah and Maggie’s newest album, “In the Company of Strangers,” will be available for purchase on iTunes on Feb. 25th. They will also be performing at Jittery’s in the campus center on May 1st.