January 2018

Sibling Rivalry Tour

Author: Justin Jarrett | Photographer: Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay; Ben Sechler and Derrick Lee

Hannah Wicklund and Luke Mitchell have spent virtually their entire lives jumping from one gig to the next, but rarely have they shared the same stage. Until now. The Hilton Head Island natives and half-siblings plan to play 45-50 dates together in 2018 as Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones team with The High Divers for the Sibling Rivalry Tour, which isn’t just a clever name.

“It has some truth to it,” Wicklund, 20, said with a laugh, “but we’re definitely super pumped to be on the road together, and I promise we won’t be hitting each other with our guitars on stage.”

Wicklund’s first gig was playing Beatles covers to open for Mitchell’s high school band, The Gnomes, at a bocce ball tournament at Honey Horn. They played one show together as a duet called The Hannahmals, a nickname Mitchell gave Wicklund as a kid. Other than that, they’ve mostly made their own paths.

“We’ve always wanted to play together but never really had the time,” Mitchell said. “We had this chunk of time where we were going to be touring anyway, so why not play together?”

The tour begins with two nights at the Roasting Room in Old Town Bluffton on Jan. 8 and 9 and a show at The Stage on Bay in Savannah on Jan. 11, allowing fans who have followed the siblings since their days fronting high school cover bands on Hilton Head Island a chance to hear songs off their forthcoming albums. Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones will release a self-titled full-length produced by Sadler Vaden of Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit on Jan. 26. The High Divers’ second full-length is due out March 2 but will be available at the upcoming shows.

In fact, the opening shows of the tour will be a homecoming for the entire lineup of The High Divers. Mitchell attended Hilton Head Island High School along with bassist Kevin Early and drummer Julius DeAngelis. Mitchell’s wife, Mary Alice (keys/vocals), attended Bluffton High School.

The homecoming shows—and the entire tour—are something of a dream come true for a couple of kids who had instruments in their hands by age 3. Both credit Matt Wicklund (Wicklund’s dad and Mitchell’s stepdad) for fostering their love of live music and even running sound and lights for their shows before they were old enough to drive themselves to gigs.

It also marks a sort of joining of forces for siblings who grew up in constant competition with one another as they chased parallel dreams.

“We have a great relationship now,” Mitchell said. “When we were kids, it was weird because I’m seven years older than her. When you’re kids, that feels like a lifetime, and she’s very headstrong. Seven years doesn’t matter that much now, but back then it was like, ‘Who’s this little kid running around?’”

The Sibling Game
Before Hannah Wicklund (Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones) and Luke Mitchell (The High Divers) set out for the Sibling Rivalry Tour, starting Jan. 8 at the Roasting Room in Old Town Bluffton, they played along with CH2/CB2 to find out how well these musical siblings know each other, Newlywed Game-style.

What was the first CD you bought with your own money?
Luke thought Hannah would say: Maybe Aerosmith.
Hannah: Consolers of the Lonely by The Raconteurs. They were one of the first more modern bands that I started to get into.
Hannah thought Luke would say: Something by Led Zeppelin. I don’t know what album.
Luke: Green Day, Dookie.

If you could only listen to one artist’s catalog for the rest of your life, who would it be?
Luke thought Hannah would say: Fleetwood Mac
Hannah: Tom Petty
Hannah thought Luke would say: Tom Petty
Luke: Tom Petty, for sure

What’s your favorite of your sibling’s songs?
Luke thought Hannah would say: “Give It Up.”
Hannah: “Rising Water.” It’s super unique and a killer way to start the album. I also really like a song called “Signs,” but it’s not an album track; it’s only a live version.
Hannah thought Luke would say: “Mama Said.”
Luke: “Soul to Sell.”

What do you miss the most about Hilton Head?
Luke thought Hannah would say: Being able to hang out with our parents.
Hannah: How beautiful it is. You don’t realize how good you have it on Hilton Head until you leave as far as just driving around in the most relaxing place. When I drive over the bridge, I feel this weight taken off my chest; Palmetto Bay Marina when the sun is setting; and, of course, my mom and dad and my dogs.
Hannah thought Luke would say: The natural beauty, but he lives in Charleston, so he still has that. I live across the street from a school in Nashville, so I really appreciate it now.
Luke: Being able to hang out with our parents.

What do you miss the least about Hilton Head?
Luke thought Hannah would say: The tourists.
Hannah: I didn’t know that I liked my hair really until I left Hilton Head and the humidity, so I miss the humidity the least, for sure.
Hannah thought Luke would say: Getting requests to play Jimmy Buffett.
Luke: The tourists.

If you could describe (Luke/Hannah) in one word, what would it be?
Luke thought Hannah would say: Genius. (laughing)
Hannah: Inspiring.
Hannah thought Luke would say: Annoying. (Laughing). No, I’m kidding. Resilient. Or maybe bad-ass.
Luke: Driven.

What’s the first thing you’ll buy for yourself when you sign a multi-million-dollar record deal?
Luke thought Hannah would say: A cabin or something like real estate.
Hannah: A really expensive sushi dinner. Realistically, I’d probably get myself a really bad-ass vintage Les Paul.
Hannah thought Luke would say: Bob Dylan’s acoustic guitar. Definitely a very cool vintage guitar.
Luke: A 1950s telecaster.

Who would you cast to play your sibling in a movie?
Luke thought Hannah would say: That guy from Silicon Valley. (T.J. Miller)
Hannah: Seth Rogen.
Hannah thought Luke would say: The person I’ve been compared to the most in my life has been Hermione, so probably young Emma Watson with her frizzy hair.
Luke: Natalie Portman but with long curly hair.

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