Time for a little R&R

Langley’s Robyn (left) and Ryleigh Gillespie will release a 10-song CD under the Raincoast Music label this month. The singing, songwriting sisters are also preparing to play a number of shows locally, before heading to Nashville in September, to try to raise their profile on the country music scene. - submitted photo
Langley’s Robyn (left) and Ryleigh Gillespie will release a 10-song CD under the Raincoast Music label this month. The singing, songwriting sisters are also preparing to play a number of shows locally, before heading to Nashville in September, to try to raise their profile on the country music scene.
— image credit: submitted photo

‘Sisters. Singers. Songwriters.”

Their Twitter profile pretty much sums it up.

But now you can add recording artists on the Raincoast label to Langley duo Robyn and Ryleigh Gillespie’s collective biography.

At just 21 and 18 years old, respectively, the sisters’ musical career is about to hit a major milestone with the release of their first full CD, titled simply Robyn and Ryleigh.

Keeping the name straightforward was just easier than arguing about it, the girls laughed.

Chatting with the duo over the phone, it takes a few minutes to sort out which sister is speaking, without her first identifying herself.

That could be the reason their voices blend so seamlessly in song.

Or, it may just be because they’ve been singing together their whole lives.

Robyn and Ryleigh first emerged on the B.C. music scene a few years ago, with gigs at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Merritt Mountain Music Festival and as competitors in the first Langley Has Talent competition.

And with a scheduled performance at Langley’s Canada Day celebrations now behind them, and upcoming shows set for the Fraser Valley and Washington state,  the sisters are continuing to build their following locally.

Their hope is that by releasing the 10-song CD on July 17 and getting airplay on country radio stations across Canada, they will be able drum up interest in new markets as well.

But they’re not stopping on this side of, or even close to, the border. The girls also plan to travel to Nashville in September and perform wherever the opportunity presents itself.

During their time in Music City the duo plans to “make a big wave that nobody can miss,” said Ryleigh.

“It will be us, playing wherever we can,” Robyn added.

“Anywhere you can play in Nashville is a good place.”

One of Robyn’s greatest influences — singer-songwriter Taylor Swift —  was discovered in a coffee shop there, after all, the girls point out.

And, of course, they’ll be promoting their new CD while they’re in Tennessee.

What started out as an independent five-song EP has expanded to a full album, distributed by Raincoast Music and MDM records.

Although Robyn remains the duo’s chief songwriter, the disc includes a few outside contributions as well.

It features a song written by Taylor Swift, as well as others by Canadian country artists Steven Lee Olsen, and Kathleen Higgins.

The country influence fits nicely with Robyn’s own style.

Ryleigh, meanwhile, gravitates more toward the pop end of the spectrum.

And though Robyn — who plays guitar and mandolin and recently took up the drums — writes the vast majority of their songs, she doesn’t let that limit the duo’s repertoire to a single genre.

In fact, the new album offers a mix of pop, folk, country, blue grass and rock.

“We wanted to have a song for every mood,” said Ryleigh.

“We wanted to have it so that everybody could relate to something.”

If the songs are relatable, perhaps it’s because they’re from the heart.

With most of the focus on love — lost and found —  they’re songs that most people can relate to on some level.

And the musician never knows when inspiration will strike.

Some of her lyrics are sketched out on the backs of napkins, others have been written with one hand while she pumped gas with the other.

“Sometimes I can’t sleep. I’m thinking too much about music.

“I’m always writing. It’s part of who I am … I  personally need to write; it’s my outlet,” said Robyn.

Does the added pressure of having a production team scheduling interviews, concerts and other promotional activities, leave her less time for songwriting?

“It doesn’t slow me down, it just keeps me up at night,” she laughed.

While Robyn writes, Ryleigh focuses on her second (but equal) passion — acting — having just finished a small part on the Vancouver-shot television drama Supernatural.

“I’m trying to do both. I mean, they’re both very big careers. So far it’s working out,” said Ryleigh.

Things seem to be going OK in the music department as well. The video for the duo’s song Just Another Sundown, the first single off their album, is now online and they’re getting ready to perform throughout the summer to help build sales.

They have shows coming up in Chilliwack on July 12 and across the line in Bellingham at the 542 Festival where they’ll be offering a preview of the new album.

There’s also a sneak peek of the new album, including the video, on the duo’s website. The Gillespie sisters can also be found on Twitter at


Just Another Sundown is also available on iTunes.

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