Better Days - The Willows
Our LCM featured artists are Cambridge based UK Folk and Roots supergroup The Willows. They are currently in the studio recording their highly anticipated third album and as a taster our LCM #SongOfTheDay is a live studio version of one the new tracks the beautiful 'Better Days'. Watch out for the new album and the UK tour later in the year.
Their first album 'Beneath Our Humble Soil' released in 2013 was nominated for best debut in the Spiral Earth Awards 2014, and has been championed by the likes of Bob Harris and Mike Harding. The much anticipated follow-up 'Amidst Fiery Skies', co-produced with Sean Lakeman was released on 6th October 2014. Fronted by the breathtaking vocals of Jade Rhiannon, supported by rich vocal harmonies and dynamic acoustic musicianship the band take influence from folk traditions on both sides of the Atlantic.
The band were formed in 2010 by husband and wife, Cliff and Jade, sister, Prue, and chance meeting via Gumtree, Ben. Following numerous gigs in folk clubs all over the the UK supporting the likes of LAU, Seth Lakeman, & Peatbog Faeries and an eponymous EP, the band released debut album Beneath Our Humble Soil in 2013. Co-produced by Stu Hanna (Megson, Faustus, Show of Hands), the album caught the attention of BBC Radio 2's Bob Harris who invited the band in for a live session midway through their UK tour. Maverick Magazine gave the record 4½ stars, and it was subsequently nominated for Best Debut in the Spiral Earth Awards. Standout festival performances followed at the likes of Cambridge Folk Festival, Towersey Festival, Secret Garden Party, FolkEast, Folk By The Oak and SommerSound (Germany), helping to build a reputation as a compelling live act.
Second album 'Amidst Fiery Skies' saw the band further augment their sound with new member Evan Carson (bodhran), guest double bassist Ben Nicholls (Seth Lakeman Band, The Full English) and co-producer Sean Lakeman. For the first time the band present original, traditional and covered songs side by side, yet in many ways the record feels like their most homogenous work to date. Stories remain at the heart of the album: The banjo-driven Johnny Robson telling of a man who throws himself into the fire after an apparition of his deceased wife. The heart breaking and tender Outward Bound (a variant on the Faithful Sailor Boy) depicting a ship’s safe return to land without the maiden’s lover aboard. Whilst, The Visitor describes a true story of arguably the most heroic lifeboat rescue in British history. The music itself is rich in power, with the band equally at home with pin-drop intimacy as they are invigorating foot-stompers.
The Willows are :
Jade Rhiannon – Vocals, Shruti Box
Cliff Ward – Banjo, Guitar, Violin, Vocals
Ben Savage – Guitar, Dobro, Vocals
Katriona Gilmore – Violin, Vocals
John Parker - Bass
Evan Carson – Bodhran, Percussion