This site too slow? Try a mirror  --  Subscribe to the Guide  --  Find artist:
the Ectophiles' Guide: * Guide Home* What's new* * Alphabetical* Genre* Commentator* Location* Random artist* Search* Contact the editors* Credits

Willow


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Intense contemporary folk/altpop with a strong blues-y flavour

Status:

Most recent release, Radio Sky (2012)

See also:

Willow's site

Willow also performs with David Bavas as Mabel McGee and Pennsylvania Slim (see their CDBaby site)

Comparisons:

Natalie Merchant, Buffy Ste-Marie, Joan Baez

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Willow's voice is reminiscent of Natalie Merchant and Buffy Ste-Marie, with a little Diamonds And Rust Joan Baez thrown in: the perfect accompaniment to her stark music. (meth@smoe.org)

The songwriting is strong in the darker contemporary folk/pop tradition, and so is her dark, deep, expressive voice with a hint of raspiness in it. Really promising. I highly recommend her to anyone looking for deeply emotive, acoustic music. I find it really affecting (not affected!!). (Neile)

Neile introduced me to Willow's music with a sampling of songs from her solo accoustic album. I was so smitten with them, particularly the scary insightful world of a schizophrenic woman in "Four Corners", that I asked her to come and do a house concert. She came, with full band and her brand new album, and blew us all away. sweet dark demon reminds me a bit of Over the Rhine. They don't sound alike, but they have a similar vibe. Willow's got a darker, huskier voice and gets inside of her characters in a spooky way. (Neal)

I can just get lost in Willow's voice—and never want find my way out of the sonic forest. (gordoja@optonline.net)

Comments about live performance:

Willow live is wonderful. She's got a strong voice and great songwriting that makes her stand out amongst the singer-songwriters I've heard. The songs really pull you into her performance—and vice versa. Her rich voice and melancholic folk/pop is haunting, and she can belt it out when appropriate. Her new cd is just her and a guitar, which is how I heard her last night. She's wonderfully talented. I can't quite figure out how to describe her well. She has a song "Four Corners" about a schizophrenic woman that just gets me every time I hear it, on disc or live. (7/99, Neile)

Last Tuesday Jeff and I hosted Willow for a house concert. The Willow show was a lot of fun. I think it might still have been interesting to have seen them do an acoustic show, but this one was certainly quite tasty.
     They played virtually everything off the new Sweet Dark Demon, a few tracks from Willow's first solo CD, a few new songs and a cover of Gershwin's "Summertime". To me, this incarnation of Willow is vaguely reminiscent of Over the Rhine, but mostly in atmosphere. The instrumental make-up is different, and Willow doesn't sound like Karen Bergquist.
     The cover of "Summertime" wasn't as flashy and over-the-top as Wendy Rule's (go figure), but instead was a continuation of the moody, somewhat dark sound they'd been performing throughout the evening. The concert was phenomenal. Very powerful and moody. (7/01, neal)

I saw Willow at Bumbershoot back at the start of September. She was great. Charming, funny and spellbinding, even from my seat in the very back row. (10/01, Sherlyn.Koo)

Recommended first album:

sweet dark demon

Recordings:


Willow (tape ep)

Release info:

1998—Mercy Music

Availability:

See website for availability; may be out of print

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of dark folk

Group members:

Willow Scrivener—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Ken Stubblefield—violin, guitar, bass
Brian Duggan—guitar, percussion
Erik Stewart—percussion, bass, harmonium, accordion

Comments:

This was my first taste of Willow, and is a wonderful collection of six emotive songs. Except on the first track (where the vocals are far too low in the mix) the focus is on Willow's evocative vocals and songwriting, and the backup music is wonderful. A delightful listening experience, even though it's so short (6 songs). It makes me long for more. The songwriting is strong, and so is her rich voice. Really promising. (Neile)

Willow (CD-R)

Release info:

1999

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of dark folk

Group members:

Willow Scrivener—guitar, vocals

Comments:

Recorded live May 10, 1999 at the Acoustic Chamber.

Willow starts off with a very Veda-Hille-like guitar and vocal, then meanders off down similarly dark and brooding pathways. The disc evokes those chilly late-autumn days when the world starts to seem just too much to bear. Haunting, wonderful stuff. (meth@smoe.org)

I'm in total agreement with Meth on this. The disc is haunting, but not so dark that it doesn't bear repeated listening. In no way is it difficult, simply its beauties are dark and deep. A wonderful collection. (Neile)

This album is amazing. (onealien@mo.himolde.no)


sweet dark demon

Release info:

2001—AEM Music—AEM01012

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Willow—guitar, banjo guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

Kevin Wood—electric guitar, lap steel, dulcimer, banjo, classical guitar
Ken Stubblefield—bass
Jeremy Sever—drums, percussion
Nancy Wharton—cello
Steve Moore—piano, hammond organ, harmonium
Tucker Martine—Morton salt shaker

Produced by:

Tucker Martine

Comments:

Willow has more than exceeded the promise shown in her earlier recordings. This is an utterly haunting album—dark but also refreshing, and utterly individual. it's wonderful, a truly rich, dark, sensual, collection of songs. This is her second work with a band, and it shows both the strong simplicity of her songs but also ornaments them well. It's just a lovely, heart-felt, passionate, folkie/bluesy collection. And of course showcases her deep, evocative voice. (Neile)

I think this album will be attractive to many ectophiles. (neal)

One of my top ten discs of the year. (gordoja@optonline.net)

This album is just as amazing as her previous one. (onealien@mo.himolde.no)


lovely love ep

Release info:

2003—AEM Music—AEM3012

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Willow—vocals, acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

Kevin Wood—electric guitars, lap steel, loops

Produced by:

Kevin Wood & Willow

Comments:

This is a 4-track ep. It falls in between her solo acoustic album and the band album. Just her and Kevin on atmospheric guitars. (neal)

Alas, for me it doesn't feel as brilliant as her previous work, and particularly not as indispensible as sweet dark demon. I don't think it's the songwriting or the vocals—they seem as strong as ever; simply that there's something off in the mixing. Willow's vocals just are buried too deeply, and don't have the clarity of her other recordings. I would love to hear these songs with just her and her guitar, or at the very least with a fuzzy layer or two less and the vocals brought up front. However, this may be entirely an idiocyncratic reaction. I highly recommend Willow fans check it out and see for yourselves. If you're not yet a Willow fan, I recommend you start elsewhere before coming to this one. (Neile)


Further info:

Email willow@willowsmusic.com


Thanks to Meredith Tarr for work on this entry.

Why the ads?
the Ectophiles' Guide: * Guide Home* What's new* * Alphabetical* Genre* Commentator* Location* Random artist* Search* Contact the editors* Credits

DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2012-06-14 18:29:05.
Please request permission if you wish to
reproduce any of the comments in the
Ectophiles' Guide in any context.

The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music is copyright © 1996-2004 by the editors.
Individual comments are copyright © by their authors.
Web site design and programming copyright © 1998-2004 usrbin design + programming.
All rights reserved.