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Nalani & Sarina are still singing Sam Moore’s praises

Up-and-coming sister duo from New Jersey recalls meeting, performing with Rock and Roll and Hall of Famer this year in New York.
Nalani (right) and Sarina Bolton (Photo by Chris M. Junior)

Nalani (right) and Sarina Bolton (Photo by Chris M. Junior)

By Chris M. Junior

The events occurred several months ago. But to hear Nalani and Sarina Bolton talk about meeting Sam Moore and subsequently singing onstage with the legendary soul man, you’d think that everything happened yesterday.

The 21-year-old twin sisters are sitting inside a Starbucks in downtown Somerville, N.J., a short drive from their home in Hunterdon County (where E Street Band keyboardist Danny Federici also was raised). When asked to tell their Moore story, they lean forward and their faces light up.

“It started out with our manager knowing Dave Marsh from SiriusXM,” begins Sarina. “We were going to be on Dave’s show, but a week before that, our manager calls us up and he says, ‘I have good news and bad news.’”

Their manager revealed the bad news first: They’d have to share airtime with another guest.

“We said, ‘That’s cool; that’s fine,’” Sarina says.

The good news turned out to be great news: The other guest would be Moore, a favorite of Nalani & Sarina.

“For the entire year [before that], I kid you not, Sam & Dave were being played in our car nonstop,” Sarina says. “So that was definitely a surreal, scary and exciting moment hearing that on the phone.”

Leading up to the SiriusXM appearance, the Bolton sisters learned the Sam & Dave classic “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby.” They brought a small keyboard with them to the radio show, hoping they’d get the opportunity to play the song on the air. They did — and Moore sang along with them during the last chorus.

Afterward, Moore’s wife invited Nalani & Sarina to join him onstage April 1 at New York’s City Winery, where they sang “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby” with Moore and his full band.

“We’ve seen that Stax Volt Revue performance [from Norway in 1967],” Nalani says. “He still has that spirit inside of him, and he treats everyone like they’re his grandchildren.”

“He called us the Samettes on the radio, and he introduced us as that at City Winery,” adds Sarina. “So we always say that has been the highlight of our lives, being known as the Samettes, and we’re going to take that to the grave.”

Nalani & Sarina are still in the early stages of their career; in January, they released their first full-length album, “Lessons Learned,” which features bassist Will Lee from the CBS Orchestra on the “Late Show With David Letterman.” The N&S performance itinerary for the fall is as follows:

* Oct. 5: WXPN-FM (9 p.m. on “The Folk Show”) — Philadelphia

* Oct. 9: Tin Angel — Philadelphia

* Oct. 11: World Café Live at The Queen — Wilmington, Del.

* Oct. 18: Puck Live — Doylestown, Pa.

* Oct. 19: Crafts in the Meadow — Richboro, Pa.

* Oct. 23: The Social Lounge — West Chester, Pa.

* Oct. 25: Bucks County Music Festival — Pipersville, Pa.

* Nov. 14: The Dragonfly — Somerville, N.J.

* Nov. 15: ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks (Creativity Commons) — Bethlehem, Pa.

* Nov. 19: The Bitter End — New York