THE WEEPING WILLOWS

WEEPING-WILLOWSTHE WEEPING WILLOWS
BEFORE DARKNESS COMES A-CALLIN’

No Label
No Number

The second recording from Australian duo, Andrew Wrigglesworth and Laura Coates (The Weeping Willows) is a collection of original songs guaranteed to haunt. “We are the darker side of Americana,” Laura Coates says. “We are drawn to murder ballads, as well as spiritual hymns, and we also love Hank Williams, Sr.” Self-produced and engineered by multiple Grammy-winner Ryan Freeland in Los Angeles, the couple’s intertwined voices are backed by Wrigglesworth’s acoustic guitar, plus Kevin Breit (clawhammer banjo), David Piltch (bass), Tommy Detamore (pedal steel), Luke Moller (fiddle and mandolin), and Freeland on piano accordion in a spare, but strikingly effective style.

The first single released to radio, “River Of Gold,” is a song of “desire, temptation and surrender,” Andy says. The duo describes the blues influenced “Devil’s Road” as a cautionary tale of despair and regret. “Pale Rider,” written about the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse, is a pleading song reminiscent of Dr. Ralph Stanley’s “O Death” in content. Save me, save me, before darkness come’s a calling, the two singers implore with Laura’s quick vibrato soprano woven around Andrew’s faint Aussie-accented tenor. After the first two or three songs, the harmony is so close that the two singers become one voice.

“Travelin’ Man” is the familiar tale of a man whose heart belongs to the open road and the woman he is destined to leave behind, no matter how much they love each other. In “Fallen Ring,” backed by a Travis-style guitar line, the lovers say, It looks like a future in misery. In the haunting a cappella treatment of “When The Sun Comes Down,” a child is born at night, dressed in black, and everyone knows there’s something not quite right with his soul. (You’ll have to listen to the song to find out what happens.) The most frightening song is probably “Forever In My Dreams,” about a partner obsessed and controlling. You cry to set you free, but no one’s gonna steal you from me / You can’t run away, you’re here to stay / Forever in my dreams. If you enjoy a good ghost story, scary movie, and your acoustic music edged in black, you’ll enjoy the Weeping Willows. I recommend listening before nightfall. (www.theweepingwillows.com.au)NC

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