Willow Waters is a somewhat solo act consisting of singer/songwriter Willow Waters. However on her debut record, Wisdom in the Trees she is joined by a plethora of other musicians who play cello, keyboards, standup bass, mandolin, drums, accordion and so on. Her voice is not what I, or rather many folks, would come to expect from a young female vocalist and that was rather refreshing for me because it caused me to check myself which is something that is often hard to do. Waters’ vocals are deep, rich and poignant and her lyrics often have a naturistic quality to them if that’s not already evident from the title.
The opening song “Wisdom in the Trees” sets off on a slow journey, like a leaf being born down a slow-moving stream. Its finger picked acoustic guitar and horns along with a melodic bit of keys meanders the listener along this same stream as Waters talks about the importance of taking care of nature. Then about halfway through the song she turns it up and the song turns into a folky rock jam session that took me by surprise, a surprise I greatly enjoyed. This hyped up song style leads its way in later on “Deep Power” a song whose title speaks for itself and musically reminded me of the progression of Nick Drake as he took more liberties on his later records, especially Pink Moon.
Though steeped in songs about nature the music itself is very much a focal point and the record should not simply be taken as a call to action flyer for helping to save our planet but rather listened to for its sheer beauty and comparison to nature as one feels on such powerful songs as songs such as “Climb” and the beautiful folksy balladry of “Not Here Today.”
On Wisdom in the Trees, Willow Waters and her expansive company of musicians gives listeners exciting moments at every turn. It is a record that one does not flip through but rather puts on and sits back and enjoys like a long nap out in the first warm rays of sunshine after a dreary and long spell of cold.
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