Those lucky enough to have heard The Willows live will know that they have been delivering their own brand of musical story-telling to local audiences for some time. With their first studio album 'Beneath Our Humble Soil' the 5-piece is starting to gain some richly deserved recognition from several sources, not least of all Whispering Bob Harris who has describes their sound as 'gorgeous'.
High praise indeed, I urge you to pick up a copy yourselves and see just what all the fuss is about.
I haven't downloaded this album. I bought it at the Half Moon in Bishop's Stortford after seeing them play there for the 3rd time (I already had the EP and still cannot stop listening to that too!). Simply fantastic band, fabulous sound and a very personable down to earth group of individuals.
It is a sad world where we spend our money on the endless dross that the present stream of "talent" shows put out, while bands like this struggle for recognition and have day jobs to live. Don't get me wrong, I have even bought some of that dross (because I like a well produced but shallow pop song as much as the next person), but if anyone deserves to make it in the music business then it is this lot - both on talent and manner. Good luck to them.
Rarely do I come across an album where I sit and listen to EVERY track and cannot find a song I wouldn't put into my favorites. I couldn't tell you which is the best track, because I love them all.
This is the best new band and album I've heard for a long time. The Willows hark back to brilliant music of the past though mould it together to create something of their own. Some members of the band have a distinctly folk background though they are much too varied to pigeonhole so narrowly. Maybe the often misused moniker of folk-rock ultimately suits them best.
The Willows are led by Jade Rhiannon on beautiful vocals and guitar supported by her partner Cliff Ward on guitar, banjo and backing vocals. Lead guitar including slide is provided by Ben Savage and drums and percussion by Stephen MacLachlan. Completing the bad is Cliff's sister Prue on very clear violin (definitely not "fiddle") and backing vocals.
As already hinted, there is something of a classic Fairport's feel to their set-up with this most evident musically on the driving Outlaw. Another highlight the delicate Moths reminds me of early Joni Mitchell whereas Worker's War on the other hand could almost be Dolly Parton. Further highpoints include the epic ballad Gone Are The Days which has an underlying reggae rhythm beneath the lush arrangement as well as the mystical Out At Sea and Cap In Hand with Cliff on lead vocals.
With the often complex arrangements, there is also an element of prog to The Wilows' sound. The purists may say that this is music like it used to be 40 or more years ago. Whatever your views on this may be, Beneath Our Humble Soil is a fantastic album which is very highly recommended.
I have seen the Willows over the last couple of years at various gigs. The album is confirmation that they are going places. They combine a naive star quality with fabulous musicianship and a freshness which is all too rare these days. This is not their last album.
I found the Willows music listening to some of the artists who will be appearing at Folkstock in September. Love Bella's Fury. Reminds me of Alison Krauss and Union Station, so high praise indeed. This is a great album for any fan of bluegrass, americana or folk music. I have been so impressed by the quality of the album, that I have just bought tickets to see them live at an EP release gig. Highly recommended
I have been listened to this CD in my car for a while now and I think it really stands out from the other new folk/roots out there in 2013. The reasons? - Interesting self-penned songs with a good mix of tempos - Really well produced - Quality musicianship - Thoughtful and subtle use of the banjo
I've now lost count of the number of times I've listened to this album and I just don't tire of it. There is a brilliant mix of songs so that every time you listen it's like listening to a new album. Jade's voice is unique and such a pleasure to lisen to, the musicianship of the band is outstandng I could liten to them all day long. I'm dying to hear more and very much look forward to a second album by The brilliant Willows.