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Gothic-Americana Duo
Willow & Wood
 
 
Hometown: Recent Nashville transplant from Seattle
Genres: Gothic-Americana / Dreamy-Folk / Rock
Label: indie
Members: Willow Scrivner, Kevin Wood, 
(with occasional visits from Bob Congleton and Aaron DeAnda)
 
 

Willow and Wood make up two strong partnerships, one their own romantic deal, legalized in marriage since 2005 and another more musical affair, where if Wood is the music, Willow is the song. Together they play a hypnotizing form of gothic Americana with Willow’s voice wending its wild way through the watercolor waves of Wood’s guitar.

After years of holding illustrious court in the Seattle music scene, the duo found themselves on the road again and this time definitively as they headed south and stopped over in Nashville. Unbeknownst to them at the time, they were laying down roots that would take hold and flourish.

It’s no surprise that in song city, Willow and Wood found new songs to inspire, but neither of them anticipated such a prolific shift in their collaborative life. Says Willow: “We’ve written so many new songs together here. It’s in the air. Even if we didn’t play music, which I can’t imagine, something about being in Tennessee, in the south -- I can feel it seeping into my bones and I feel like it’s calling me home.”

Home is not what it is for Wood who grew up in the darker climes of the Pacific Northwest, but he’s managed to find a way in without losing his signature Seattle sound. It’s almost as if his guitar playing, subtly influenced by Andy Summers and Daniel Lanois, has fallen into an easeful peaceful resonance that underscores the sweet darkness of Willow’s muse-like voice.

Whether on his telecaster, custom-made for him by an old friend, or the lap steel, which holds a special place in Willow and Wood’s music, the swimming tones and melancholic depths are just a bit brighter than they used to be. The two of them attribute that to the weather and something about darker days left behind.

“Since we’ve moved our songs aren’t quite as heavy or minor as the Seattle era. I played more baritone in Seattle than I do here. I brought it all the way down here but I’ve never once played it live. Kevin talks me out of it every time.”

The two have talked each other in and out of things more than a few times, sometimes without a word exchanged, including their musical partnership which was a little like thunder finding lightning. The first time they played together Willow cried afterward because she’d always heard that guitar in her mind and couldn’t ever explain it to anyone. Wood says he’d always wanted to play like that, but he’d never found anyone who could sing to it.

Sing to it she can and when asked what voices give Willow inspiration, she cites Neko Case, Gillian Welch and Nina Simone: “I love their deep dark being, their voices, essence...they’re not afraid to write and sing about dark heartbreaking things but still have levity on stage.” Those words could directly describe Willow herself and she’s said from stage after singing a particularly heavy song: “Embrace the dark things in your life and you’ll find more space for the light.”
Willow and Wood have certainly found some space for the light to get in and their new songs are evidence of a particular kind of joy, deeper than a surface change, something earned over many years of shared commitment, forgiveness and grace. Whether swinging sweetly to “Whiskey Faces” or barreling into the depths of “Get Lonely”, the songs and their lovely gentle messengers seem to have been traveling a great distance just to finally arrive in this very moment.

Willow says: “We found a different voice here, which having played together and been married to each other for ten plus years, finding a new voice is exciting and inspiring.” Sipping on a bourbon at the couple’s favorite neighborhood bar, she makes the offhanded comment: “I wonder what would happen if we moved to Minnesota or Detroit?”

We’ll have to wait and see, but for now, the south seems to be working just fine.

 

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Music is my redemption, my desire, my sermon, my demon, my hymn. It is my secret, my memory, my dream, my skin and my sleep. Music is my mother, and my father. I am a daughter of music.

I am a daughter of the church. Of ministers, missionaries, tent raisers and gospel callers. A daughter of healers, worshippers, snake-handlers, gardeners, and keepers of faith. I am a daughter of Oklahoma, and of Japan. A daughter of the dust bowl; and the American west.

I am a daughter of words. I am in love with the feel of them leaving my tongue and lips, the way my voice almost becomes foreign to me, and the vibration of a guitar across my chest. I’m addicted to the feeling of sound, like light leaving my body.

Music and words have been a part of me from the beginning, since before I knew they were there. Like unborn children or lovers not yet known, they were lying in wait.

I write because my head would be too cluttered otherwise, because I need to remember, and to forgive. Each song I write stays with me, leaves an imprint of where I was and what I felt as it came. Their flavors stay on my tongue even as years pass. My songs are like memories; like the whispers of ghosts.

The album, 'Radio Sky', is my attempt to capture the lush, lullaby-hushed, lost, circus-spinning feel of the Garden. A collection of songs that is fresh with new skin, but whose lineage can be traced through my past records.

I am a daughter of music.