The Willows

www.thewillowsband.com

Biography

Reviews

Jade Rhiannon – Vocals, Shruti Box

Cliff Ward – Banjo, Guitar, Fiddle, Vocals

Ben Savage – Guitar, Dobro, Vocals

Prue Ward – Violin, Vocals

Evan Carson – Bodhran, Percussion

Jon Parker - Double Bass


The Willows are a folk band from Cambridge, UK. Their first album Beneath Our Humble Soil 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 to critical aclaim, with The Telegraph hailing it "a triumph" in a 5-star review and a place in their folk albums of 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. 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.


Absolutely gorgeous sound – A lovely album – Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2


A hugely enjoyable album; with songs that engage and enliven, 

music that appeals across the board; a warm and wonderful release – Folk Radio UK


Second album Amidst Fiery Skies sees 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 heartbreakingly 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.


"***** - Amidst Fiery Skies is outstanding!" - The Telegraph


"Already selected for the ‘next big thing’ from the burgeoning herds of young English folkies , their 2nd album is beautifully rendered" - Acoustic Magazine


Alongside their achievements in the studio, a hectic touring schedule has helped the band build a reputation as a compelling live act, appearing at the likes of Shrewsbury Folk Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, Sidmouth Folk Week, Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Wilderness, Towersey, Broadstairs, Sark, Village Pump, Secret Garden Party, Warwick Folk Festival, Folk By The Oak, Village Pump, SommerSound (Germany), Bristol Folk Festival, Purbeck and FolkEast in recent years.

2017 brings the 2nd ever change to The Willows line-up with Jon Parker (formerly of Nizlopi) joining on double-bass. As the band work on their 3rd album they will be playing a handful of tour dates to previews the new material and line-up!

BOB HARRIS, BBC Radio 2

"...Absolutely gorgeous sound, a lovely album..."


The Telegraph
"***** - Amidst Fiery Skies is outstanding!"

MIKE HARDING, Mike Harding Folk Show

"They sort of straddle the worlds between Americana and English roots music and do it in a very very deft way for such a young band; I think they're really really interesting! Bella's Fury has got a sort of feeling of old timey noir about it... I think it's really amazing!"



R2 MAGAZINE

“An excellent album...The Cambridge quintet plays a particularly British form of Americana. Our Road, an original song, reminds me irresistibly of Liege and Lief-era Fairfport Convention."


MAVERICK MAGAZINE

"...The Willows are a breath of fresh air to the folk music community...  "


Beneath Our Humble Soil is a hugely enjoyable album; with songs that engage and enliven, music that appeals across the board, and there’s no doubt that Jade Ward’s husky tones create bewitching vocal performances. The Willows have developed a winning combination, just as comfortable with a gutsy rendition of their own murder ballad as they are with a foot-stompin’ alt-country protest song. 
A warm and wonderful release.

KERRY DEVINE, BBC INTRODUCING

"Beautiful... I have a lot of love for this band!"


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