This article is from Issue 51: May/June 2011

Eisley Grown Up

After years of personal and professional heartbreak, the indie band returns—wiser and less whimsical.

An artist’s best work is often borne out of personal tragedy.

In the case of the three DuPree sisters from the alt-pop band Eisley, such inspiring heartbreak took the forms of a painful breakup, a broken engagement and a divorce. The entire band, which includes brother Weston DuPree and cousin Garron DuPree, also recently experienced the calamity of a professional divorce with Warner Bros. Records/Reprise Records, who released their first two albums and several EPs.

The sisters, Stacy, 22, Chauntelle, 29, and Sherri, 27, huddle close together on a couch and—as sisters are wont to do—they speak over each other, finish one another’s sentences and cast knowing looks when thorny subjects come up. When they speak, they do so as if they’re on the other side of it all. They’ve made it through the worst of times. Their easy camaraderie and obvious care for one another suggests they haven’t escaped pain unscathed, but the events of their lives have had the positive effect of pushing them closer together than they’ve ever been.

Marking this milestone is the release of Eisley’s third full-length album, The Valley. The project chronicles the myriad low points the band experienced in the four years since their critically acclaimed Combinations, and the new direction they’ve been given as a result. What Eisley was has passed away. But there is also the promise of something new.

“It’s kind of like the end of an era for us,” says Sherri, who sings and plays guitar. “We’re starting over with a new label and everything. It’s going to be different.”

Love Lost ... and Found Again

The Valley, which came out in March, is a continuation of Eisley’s trademark bittersweet pop-rock, but presented in a more grown-up tone. The mature viewpoint is largely the result of Sherri’s divorce from Chad Gilbert, guitarist for New Found Glory.

“My songs kind of follow a story of finding out that I was going to be divorced, accepting that and moving on from that and then falling in love again,” says Sherri, now married to Max Bemis, frontman for the band Say Anything. “My part of the record is kind of a concept and takes a journey.”

Stacy, the band’s other chief lyricist, singer and keyboardist, couldn’t help but feel her sister’s pain as she penned her lyrics.