The Current

Great Music Lives Here ®
Listener-Supported Music
Donate Now
Radio Heartland®

The Twins of Franklin perform songs from 'This Life' in The Current studio

The Twins of Franklin – three-song performance at The Current for Radio Heartland Radio Heartland
  Play Now [18:24]

by Mike Pengra

May 30, 2024

A lot like the brothers Doobie or Righteous, the Twins of Franklin are not siblings. They’re besties Becky Shaheen and Laura Lou DuSchane — known professionally as Laura Lou — whose friendship goes back to their meeting at Augsburg University in Minneapolis.

Longtime singers and performers, the two musicians decided to team up on a music project all their own. They released their debut effort, Low, on Feb. 14, 2020 — which proved to be an unlucky time for any music to be released. During the pandemic, however, the two friends stayed in touch and kept writing. Finally getting back into the studio in 2023, the Twins of Franklin recorded their second album, This Life, which released on May 17 and will be celebrated with an album-release event at Icehouse in Minneapolis on May 31.

Ahead of the release party, The Twins of Franklin visited The Current studio for a session hosted by Radio Heartland’s Mike Pengra. Watch and listen to the session above, and also check out the interview video and transcript below.

Radio Heartland
The Twins of Franklin – interview with Radio Heartland's Mike Pengra

Interview Transcript

Mike Pengra: I am having fun in the studio today with the Twins of Franklin. They are Becky and Laura, and you guys really aren't twins, are you?

Laura Lou: We're not. Nor sisters. Just pals.

Mike Pengra: OK. When was the first time people called you twins? Probably...

Becky Shaheen: I think it was actually in college.

Laura Lou: Yeah.

Mike Pengra: And that's where you met, right?

Laura Lou: Yeah.

Becky Shaheen: And singing in different ensembles. And I think people would come up to us and be like, "You have to be sisters. You have to be twins!" And we were like, "No." And I think we also had, like, similar framed glasses at that time, too.

Laura Lou: Well, and we were roommates on, like, tours, when we would go on choir tours. And so people are like, "Oh, you guys must be." Yeah, we had the like, the rectangle glasses.

Mike Pengra: Both of you altos?

Laura Lou: Both sopranos!

Mike Pengra: Second soprano.

Laura Lou: Second soprano, what up!

Mike Pengra: Yeah, all right. So you were roommates then, on tour with the choir? When did you start becoming a band? When did that happen?

The Twins of Franklin Low Cover
The Twins of Franklin, "Low," released on Feb. 14, 2020.
courtesy the artists

Becky Shaheen: So we had supported each other's solo projects for a long time. And I think Laura was always like, "But we should really just be a band!" And then we just recently looked back, and we created our Facebook page in 2017. But I had even, we had sent out an email for a gig I think in like 2014. So the name had been around for 10 years. But we started really embracing it around 2016, 17. And then we released our first album in 2020.

Mike Pengra: This is your second album, you told me just before the interview that your first one came out just before the pandemic, or just as the pandemic was starting.

Laura Lou: It came out in February [2020], and we had a huge release party, and yeah, like moments later, bam — COVID hit.

Mike Pengra: This second record, this is the first I had heard you. I didn't know about you until now. 

Becky Shaheen: Yeah.

Mike Pengra: And this one is called This Life, which is, by the way, a perfect title for the songs.

Laura Lou: Nailed it.

Mike Pengra: And it's because, yeah, it's all about life events, about having kids, about relationships, everything like that. Was that written during the pandemic, then, during this three- or four-year hiatus that we all took?

Becky Shaheen: I think it was, basically, all the songs were written between July 2020 and I think like spring of 2022 is what we kind of figured out, and then finally, we were like, "OK, we've got to be in the studio," and we started in spring of '23, recording.

Laura Lou: Right.

Mike Pengra: Yeah, you guys are both moms, too.

Laura Lou: We are both moms.

Mike Pengra: How old are your kids?

Laura Lou: I have a one two-year-old.

Becky Shaheen: And my kids are going to be two and four in early June. So we're coming up on a double birthday blowout.

Mike Pengra: Oh my goodness. The album was called This Life, and that which occurs to me that this is part, a huge part of what your life is now, because now that you're moms, musician moms, band moms!

Laura Lou: Band moms. Wow.  Yeah. It's a fun and, like, very complicated sometimes, but also very rewarding thing to have this, this amazing music life outside of motherhood, because I think it can be really easy to get very lost in the identity of motherhood and parenthood. And having this outlet, just like, A) as like getting out of the house and like having alone time, but also like being able to write and process through experiences of motherhood and parenthood is like, really like a whole new level of reward.

Mike Pengra: I wondered about that, especially being moms, about writing songs, and now having that whole new chapter to write about being a mother.

Laura Lou: Right.

Mike Pengra: What's that like?

Laura Lou: We like to say that, like, there's three songs on the album that were really inspired by motherhood, and they came out so easily, like they were just so easy to write. Like, we had these experiences or these ideas, and then it just flowed right out.

Becky Shaheen: Just puked them out, really.

Laura Lou: Really nice way to put it! Word vomited!

Mike Pengra: Yeah. I'm talking to the Twins of Franklin in the studio today. Their new album is called This Life, and the album release show is happening on the last day of May, on May 31, at Icehouse.

Laura Lou: Friday.

Mike Pengra: That should be fun.

Laura Lou: It's gonna be so fun.

Becky Shaheen: I'm, it's like the highlight of my life right now. I just, that's all I think about really.

Laura Lou: I was just telling someone yesterday, I was like, "It feels a little similar to when I was planning my wedding." Like, OK, don't forget all these things, but also like, the excitement of it all and all of the like little things we have planned. Yeah, it's and everybody being like, "I have this new friend coming!" And I think like, "We just got our tickets!" and yeah.

Mike Pengra: So what's the next chapter after you talked, you wrote an album about This Life? Being grandparents, maybe?

Becky Shaheen: Hopefully, hopefully, we'll release some music before then. I think we'll continue on with, I think one of the things that we love of feedback from people about our songwriting is that it's a little bit self-helpy without being preachy, I think. And so the first album, there's a lot of kind of self-help, self-love songs. Even in this album, there's a lot of self-help, self-love, motherhood songs. And I think that will just continue. I already have all these ideas that I want to flesh out with the band. And I'm just so excited to continue. I think we have good momentum and just maybe it will take four years before the next album, but I feel like maybe less, which is exciting.

Laura Lou: Yeah, I mean, I think like the, like having COVID was really like, obviously, this huge, sometimes terrible, sometimes magical, because you were at home, just hanging out with your fam thing. But it also created this, like, all this time to write, but not a lot of time to like, take those songs and go play them out or workshop them with a band or see anyone or do anything. So I think it'll be really nice to kind of have, just, take the momentum that we've been feeling and gaining and just keep keep going. We, like, I sit and I'm, like, "Oh, yeah, we haven't played any of these new ideas, because we've been so focused on This Life." And we do talk about someday putting out a kid's album because we think that would be really, really fun for our kids and our friends' kids.

Mike Pengra: Oh, you have to do that.

Laura Lou: We have, like, no joke, 100 ideas.

Becky Shaheen: Yeah.

Laura Lou: Like we have started writing song titles.

Becky Shaheen: We have many ideas.

Mike Pengra: Do you guys write songs together

Becky Shaheen: We mostly write songs apart and then take it to the other person and the band to make it the best song it can be.

Laura Lou: But we mostly kind of flesh out the idea, flesh out the lyrics, and then say, "OK, guys, help make this perfect!" And that was like really rewarding in this last album of doing a lot more of that, because our first album, I think it was like, "OK, here's the finished song. Here's a finished song."

Becky Shaheen: It wasn't workshopped with the band, because it was, it wasn't, we didn't record it, we recorded it very differently.

Laura Lou: Right.

Becky Shaheen: So it was more with the producers that we were working on.

Mike Pengra: Yeah, it's a lovely record, This Life, by the Twins of Franklin. It's coming out May 31, it actually came out the 17th of this month. May 31 is the party at Icehouse, be there or be square.

Laura Lou: Yeah, that's right.

Mike Pengra: BT or BS.

Laura Lou: Yeah. There you go. You nailed it. TTYN.

Mike Pengra: Thanks for coming in, you guys, and congratulations on the album.

Laura Lou: Thank you so much, Mike.

The Twins of Franklin - This Life
The Twins of Franklin – "This Life" released May 17, 2024.
courtesy the artists

Songs Performed

00:00:00 To the Moon
00:03:36 Stay
00:08:20 The Wait

All songs from The Twins of Franklin’s 2024 album, This Life.


Laura Lou – vocals, acoustic guitar, ukulele
Becky Shaheen – vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboard
Joe Shaheen – electric bass, vocals
Brian Riedinger – drums
Stefan Swanson – electric guitar


Guests – The Twins of Franklin 
Host/Producer – Mike Pengra
Video Director – Evan Clark
Audio Engineer – Eric Xu Romani
Camera Operators – Evan Clark, Megan Lundberg, Nikhil Kumaran
Graphics – Natalia Toledo
Digital Producer – Luke Taylor

The Twins of Franklin – official site

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.