Quantcast
 
 
Gothic-Americana Duo
Willow & Wood
 
 
Hometown: Recent Nashville transplant from Seattle
Genres: Gothic-Americana / Dreamy-Folk / Rock
Label: indie
Members: Willow Scrivner, Kevin Wood
 
 

Willow and Wood’s music is transcendent: both a study of the geography of place, and the constant search for home. Each of the 11 tracks on the duo’s new album Tornadoes in My Head aches with hope and a broken heart. Those contradictions are at the core of what makes this band so special. Falling somewhere between indie pop and country, they have created a sound rooted in a West Coast reverb-drenched loneliness, dripping with southern humidity and darkness – and determined to find the magic.

Vocalist/songwriter Willow Scrivner met guitarist/songwriter Kevin Wood at small Seattle venue called the Dubliner. It was one of those moments every musician longs for, an immediate connection of lyric and music that left Scrivner rattled. (“I cried after the first time we played together,” she confessed, “no one had ever heard my songs that way.”) The two played their first show together at Bumbershoot, then immediately began touring. They began releasing music that made them critical darlings in The Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, Performing Songwriter and many others.

They soon married – and found themselves growing tired of the grey of the Emerald City. With its rain and undercurrent of melancholy, the great Northwest set the stage for Willow and Wood’s otherworldly lyrics and gothic themes, but a 2015 relocation to Nashville gave them the breathing room to explore the more. Ironically, it’s still Scrivner’s childhood in Lawton, Oklahoma that haunts her the most. The eerie, honest title track is the album’s crucial moment: where destruction and home collide.

From the dreamscape of the opening track, “Blue Beneath You”, to the Music Row-hook genius of “Coming Down Hard”, Scrivner’s voice is part Stevie Nicks, part Kate Bush. She’s never afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve, most importantly in “Hanging from the Stars”, a metaphor of a marriage gone wrong when one person forgets to look skyward.

Wood follows close behind with Daniel Lanois-inspired guitar work, nudging the duo into a place somewhere between Emmylou Harris’ Red Dirt Girl and the best of Mazzy Star.

Producer Dexter Green took the reins for Tornadoes in My Head. Most of late winter and spring 2019 was spent in the studio.

“We saw [Dexter] play keys and guitar with Elizabeth Cook in Nashville, and I whispered in Kevin’s ear that I wanted him to produce the album,” Scrivner recalled. “I just knew we loved his sound and the way he approached songs – and it ended up being really a lovely environment to make a record in, such a chill, creative space. So much of the record we made just sitting on the couch and creating. It was really nice to take off all the hats, and just go into a space with someone whose ears and heart you trusted and let go.” “We had self-produced for almost ten years,” Wood added, “this finally gave me room to enjoy being the artist and just play and experiment and learn. Getting outside of what we had always done was so important.”

Wood, a man of few words but plenty of open, floating suspended chords, sees his job mostly like a painter. “My goal is to play texturally,” he said. “I just use a few effects to simply create space and washes of color.” His Telecaster-laden approach, tempered with Green’s sweeping production, proved the perfect foil to Scrivner’s lyrical opus.

Together, they whittled down more than 20 songs – mostly newly written, with a few stragglers from the Seattle days that hadn’t found a place yet. 

“I love how when you're recording you think you have an idea of which songs might end up being a part of the story, and then one or two of them steps aside and another one you were ready to leave back at home decides to make the trip and come along after all,” she continued. “Most of the tunes ended up telling the story of trying to find your home, all the unraveling and stitching together of family and loss.”

 

The end result is a gorgeous landscape of storms and clear winter nights, a folk noir masterpiece of confession. It’s an album of energy and tension that never quite releases. That tension is the sign of master songwriters at work, an uneasiness that underscores the richness of Scrivner’s lyric.

 

“These are songs that have been in my system for a long time,” she said. “They’ve been on the verge. Coming to Nashville was a part of their release. It’s the longing for home, the search for space. It’s church hymns and old country; it’s tube amps and weeping guitars, and a need to dry our bones in a new place. It’s been a long time coming.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.