Dear “American Idol” producers: Now that a year has passed, let’s clear the air. Idaho-raised identical twins Laurie and Katelyn Shook do not actually hate your show’s guts.
“It’s fine,” Laurie says.
But reaching out to invite them to audition on the condition they do so separately? That idea did not sit well with the twins, who have only performed together for, you know, a decade or so. Nor did the idea of pretty much everything “American Idol” represents.
“It’s kind of the epitome of how the business has gone wrong, I think,” Laurie says, phoning from the road.
So Shook Twins posted a strongly worded refusal on Facebook. “We just wanted to express what it means to be an independent artist and what it’s like out here,” Laurie explains.
The “Idol” smackdown got lots of attention. Fans agreed with the twins’ response. “And it felt good to just kind of define what we’re doing,” Laurie says. “It was nice to sit down: ‘Why am I strongly opposed to doing it?’ ”
Shook Twins, who will bring their eccentric folk-pop to Neurolux on Oct. 17, have this habit of doing things their way — which means their way and the highway. Laurie sighs as she explains that they’re driving through Kansas. The Shooks are returning from their third East Coast trip of 2015.
Nobody will accuse Shook Twins of taking the easy road. Born in Sandpoint in 1984, the sisters waited until late 2009 to move out of their parents’ backyard workshop and relocate to Portland. The hip, bigger-city music scene has been supportive, Laurie says. But neither Portland nor Idaho feels exactly like home — not when you’re touring half the time.
“But we’re on our way to Colorado right now,” Laurie says, her voice bubbling at the thought of a sold-out gig at the rustic Gold Hill Inn in the mountains near Boulder. “It’s worth the drive.”
Does Katelyn agree? I’d ask her — she was originally scheduled to do this phone interview — but it’s her turn behind the steering wheel. Besides, I know her answer will match Laurie’s. Just like her taste in music. There are two kinds of twins, Laurie explains: Those who don’t like being twins and those who do. The Shooks’ similarities aren’t just physical. “We definitely embrace it, and we’re very thankful,” Laurie says.
Their singing voices feel intertwined at the soul, too. With long hair careening in all directions, the Shooks groove, headbang and harmonize through eclectic, sometimes irreverent songs. The Shook sound is driven by experimentation — organic, acoustic instrumentation fused with electronic influences. Guitar and banjo are the primary tools. But other instruments include ukelele, mandolin, a telephone microphone and a giant golden egg.
“Katelyn and I call ourselves ‘mediocre multi-instrumentalists’,” Laurie says with a laugh. “We just get to a certain level on an instrument, ‘Oh, let’s try something else!’ ”
Shook Twins’ diverse approach is fleshed out further by two backing musicians, multi-instrumentalist Niko Daoussis and bassist Kyle Volkman.
Shook Twins’ enthusiasm is hard to resist. A crowd-pleasing concert staple is a cover of “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” which morphs into a beatbox medley highlighted by Katelyn’s North-Idaho-white-girl raps and Laurie’s vocal percussion.
“It’s our ‘Free Bird,’ ” Laurie quips.
Quirky moments like these are one of the reasons Shook Twins keep finding new fans. Not that they would mind if things blew up a little quicker.
“Tour, tour, tour has been the biggest way to get out there,” Laurie says. “And just playing as many festivals as we can, too. But we definitely would love to get a YouTube video viral hit. We just don’t understand how viral things happen.”
Maybe the Shooks could consider pushing the, well ... identical twins angle even harder?
“I think we probably could exploit it more,” Laurie agrees. “Where’s the Doublemint commercials? We’re down.”
•7 p.m. Oct. 17, Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St., Boise. $12. TicketWeb.
Michael Deeds’ entertainment column runs Fridays in Scene. He co-hosts “The Other Studio” at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.