Willows Field is a duo from Cypress, Texas comprised of Luke Maydwell and John Luecke. On their recent release Weeping the duo make soft, melancholy acoustic folk that provides solace to solitary hearts and lonely souls. The songs are minimal yet ring with a surplus of emotion. The duo utilizes little more than acoustic guitars on these songs.
Let me say upfront I really enjoyed these songs and the duo’s general vibe but thought there were a couple of things they could have done to make the songs a bit more visceral. I have an ambivalent relationship with reverb. Sometimes it’s straight up overdone; other times it can elevate a song’s emotional impact.
Some of the songs on the EP go a bit overboard with the use of reverb. I typically think when you can cover a guitar in a lot of reverb you don’t need much on the vocal and vice-versa. There were times I wanted to hear the subtleties and nuances of the vocal because they are well delivered. I often felt like the reverb made the vocalist sound a bit too far away. My other minor issue was the guitar sound was too thin for my liking. Some more frequencies within the lows and mids would have been beneficial.
Other than some aesthetic issues the songs are spot on. The opener “Daring” is indicative of the level of song writing you can expect. It’s a heart wrenching song and the vocalist really delivers a good performance. The piano is a nice complement to the guitar. “Patronize” barely qualifies as a song at under a minute. Bon Iver is an obvious comparison on this track. “Tell Me’ is longer but still is minimal, revolving around nothing else than an acoustic guitar and vocals. The same goes for “Cigarette.”
The last track “Your Hearts” is not only the loudest song by a couple of DB's but also the highlight of the EP. They combine a distorted bass, banjo, horns and up front drums. I thought the singing was exceptional here and really opened up creative areas for the duo they haven’t previously explored.
Overall, Weeping contains a solid collection of songs. They are far from perfect but built a solid foundation for Willows Field to grow from.
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