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The Weeping Willows | Americana/Folk

THE WEEPING WILLOWS – An Australian, Americana/Folk duo consisting of Laura Coates and Andrew Wrigglesworth.

We were both born and raised down the peaceful Mornington Peninsula, about an hours drive from Melbourne. I lived in Frankston, while Laura lived exactly 2.5kms away in Mt Eliza (not that we measured or anything).

Sadly, we didn’t know each other growing up. We always joke that perhaps we crossed paths while both hanging out with our friends at the local Frankston Bayside shopping centre and we ‘surely’ would have checked each other out!

Laura came from a very musical background and varying tastes as well. Her Mum was, and still is, an instrumental music teacher, instructing on all things ‘woodwind’, so there were lots of students at the house growing up, playing Classical music. Her Dad however couldn’t be more extreme and spent his free time listening to Waylon Jennings, John Denver, Hank Snow and Hank Williams Snr!

My childhood was a bit different. I came from a household of mainly 1960’s ‘Brit Rock’ inspired parents, who would pull out vinyls every weekend playing The Beatles, The Hollies, Gerry and the Pacemakers. I started playing guitar in my mid teen years and it wasn’t long before I was pushed into the path of the music of Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Doc Watson and Tommy Emmanuel. Remember this was the mid 90’s and if you didn’t have a distorted electric guitar and long hair you were a complete square! I wanted to play acoustic guitar and listen to country music - and yes I did have short hair.

After high school we went off in completely different paths. Laura went off to university to study Drama and Music Theatre and I went off playing in various bands, teaching guitar and working at Safeway. Playing in all those garage bands led me meeting and playing with Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes which is where The Weeping Willows story really begins…

It was a cold Sunday winters night in 2008 and Laura was invited by a mutual friend to see her friend’s band (The Wildes) play at The Empress Hotel in Melbourne. Laura actually had worked with Lachlan in various groups in High School. After the show, Laura and I got chatting and exchanged numbers to organise a ‘date’.

It wasn’t long before I guess we became a ‘romantic’ couple. The Wildes were just about to release their debut album ‘Ballad of a Young Married Man’ and the boys and I invited Laura on the road to sing backing vocals!

Over the next few years, The Wildes (including us) were mainly on the road, touring and promoting the album. In-between touring, we started learning Johnny Cash and June Carter duo covers just for fun and as a side project.

It got to a point that we wanted to branch out on our own and form our own duo. So in 2012 The Weeping Willows was born. We got into the studio in Melbourne and recorded our first album Till’ The North Wind Blows.

Having a product, we spent the next few years touring, learning, listening, writing and improving, including spending some time in the Southern states of America, soaking up the style, culture and stories of the South.

It was while in Nashville in 2014, watching the incredible Jason Isbell receive his Americana award for Album of the Year that he mentioned that you should ‘Do the things that scare you, that’s the good stuff’. It had always been a dream of ours to record our next album in the states but could it be possible?

Ryan Freeland is an engineer and producer in Culver City in California that kept popping up on some of the most incredible albums for artists like The Milk Carton Kids, Bonnie Raitt. Ray LaMontagne, Over the Rhine, Joe Henry and so many more artists in this genre. We managed to get in touch with Ryan and he said he’d love to record our next album!

As you can imagine, it wasn’t cheap to record an album overseas. We were extremely fortunate to have an amazing amount of the most generous people donate to a crowd funding campaign we set up through Pozible. So, in September 2015 we flew to LA and recorded our latest album Before Darkness Comes A-Callin’.

The album was released this year (2016) through Red Eye Worldwide/MGM. We’ve so far toured VIC, NSW, TAS, ACT, SA and will be touring WA, QLD in the next few months.

We are extremely lucky to be able to play music, tour the world and be together. Some people go to football games, others play golf and windsurf. We like to jump into a 15 year old Camry and drive somewhere to play music for people. We can’t see it ever changing or being any other way.

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