One of this years most breathtaking bands to come out of the Cambridge folk scene are The Willows. Beautiful harmonies, superb musicianship and some great songwriter all come together in this holy union. This is a well earned accolade, considering that Cambridge has a longstanding relationship with folk music, mainly due to the world famous Folk Festival in Cherry Hinton, its folk scene is one of the strongest in the country. So it was only just and fitting that Slate the Disco had a quick cuppa and chat with the lead Singer Jade Rhiannon. We felt that we had to find out what all the fuss is about, especially since their playing the lovely new theatre at The Junction 2 on Tuesday 21st February
How did the band come to be and who is the current line up?
Hello. The band Members:_are Cliff Ward – Guitar/Singer/Banjo – Jade Ward – Lead Singer/Guitar/Shruti Box – Prue Ward – Violin/Singer – Ben Savage- Guitar/Singer/dobro and Steve Maclachlan – Percussion/drums.
The band formed in the Spring of 2010. Cliff and Prue are brother and sister and I’m married to Cliff. We have been making music together for a few years and were looking to form a band. We struck gold when we found Ben on gumtree! After the first rehearsal went so well we called upon Steve, Cliff’s old housemate, to play Cajon, drums and all things wonderfully percussive. After a few rehearsals we could see something special was starting to come to light, and The Willows were formed.
Folk is a broad genre, but how would you best describe your music?
It is indeed. I would say we are somewhere in the water between contemporary English Folk and Americana on a little wooden boat.
What are the influences that the band individually draw together to make the willows sound?
Between the 5 members, we bring a wide collection of songs and artists that have left an imprint on us musically. Whittling it down I’d say John Martin, Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings, Shirley Collins, Steve Earle, Bob Dylan, PJ Harvey, Mogwai.
The EP received a great deal of interest far and wide, what we can look forward to in the new album?
We have been developing our sound since our debut ep. You can expect quite a few shades in there with a few darker tunes making an appearance. We also introduce the dobro and banjo, the latest additions to our sound as well as guest appearances from friends.
The Junction is a big stage to play, what can the deserving concert goers look forward to?
Hearing all the Album tracks from us played in a rather lovely venue. We also have friends Pat Crilly and Gerard and The Watchmen on the bill who are both fantastic
What are the plans for 2012 and beyond?
To release the album, make music and gig as much as possible, venturing further afield around this great globe.
Name the top 3 people you would like to gig with and the top 3 people you would like to work with?
This is a hard one as far too many_Gig wise, for he experience – Dave Rawlings, Gogol Bordello, and transported back in time – Fleetwood Mac. Work with – Andy Cutting, Brian Finnegan and Rory McLeod because he’s a legend!
What do you want on your rider?
Dancing Pink Elephants or if that proves difficult – water and beer please
Where can people find out more about you?
You can find us here
words// Gil Karpas