The Weeping Willows Bluegrass from Australia with Brothers Bear
These words are particularly apt when applied to The Weeping Willows second album, Before Darkness Comes A-Callin. Recorded in Los Angeles with multiple Grammy winner, Ryan Freeland and a small cast of players hand-picked to leave all the right gaps and spaces, this record should be received as a mature, melancholic sequel to their debut. But listen a little harder and youll hear that the record is filled with that all of that wonder, magic and joy of which Nick Cave speaks.
Thats hardly surprising because, in a way, every song penned by The Weeping Willows is a love song. Theyd deny that, of course. These tracks, theyd claim, are works of imagination tales of cruelty, tragedy, murder and betrayal, all populated by gamblers, sinners, infidels and travelling salesmen (read: wandering musicians). Ask Andy or Laura to define their work and theyd probably hit you with phrases like cautionary tales, murder ballads or simply folk songs, but in truth these are love songs each and every one of them.
How are they love songs, you ask? Because The Weeping Willows are lovers they are devoted to each other and to the life of the artist in seemingly equal measure. Have you seen them perform together? Have you seen the knowing glances they exchange as they harmonise their eerie, at times surreal lyrics over Andys patient, timeless strum? Think back to those performances, those moments of chemistry in its purist form, then try to convince yourself that The Weeping Willows were not singing a love song. Every note plucked or sung by Andy and Laura is a work of love. Every dark hour spent huddled together refining their sound in the dimly-lit backroom of their home on the Southern outskirts of Melbourne is a labour of love.
Even when Andy and Laura are warning of the Valley Of Darkness (where your soul will be skinned alive!!), the mysterious The Pale Rider (whos unearthly eyes are, of course, looking for them), or the treacherous Devils Road (which a dark crow watches over ominously from the old smoke stack), there is love (and a wry sense of humour) in abundance. In Travellin Man, a song co-written with Lachlan Bryan, the love addressed more directly, but tempered by the realities of life as an itinerant musician (realities that, fortunately for them, Andy and Laura manage to eschew in real life).
So what does this all mean for we the listeners and the viewers (or perhaps the voyeurs is more apt in this case)? The answer is integrity theres an inherent truthfulness, perhaps even a righteousness, in every recording and performance by The Weeping Willows. They themselves cant help it for when music is born of love it is unflinchingly honest even if the words are entirely fictional. This integrity is the reason The Willows can play almost every week of the year, often three or four times, winning over new fans and loyal friends wherever they go. Its the reason they turn up on more festival bills than just about any other local act, and its the reason they end up opening for the likes of Bill Chambers, Shane Nicholson and even songwriting legend Iris Dement.
Darkness may be at the heart of The Weeping Willows new record, but there is love at the core and with that love comes a sincerity and artfulness that listeners will cherish for a long time to come.
Zeeland Street Market (View)
2031 Perkins Rd
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|