The Weeping Willows Come A-Callin’ – Be Prepared

We review Before Darkness Comes A-Callin’ by The Weeping Willows

We review Before Darkness Comes A-Callin’ by The Weeping Willows

Laura Coates and Andy Wrigglesworth from Australian duo The Weeping Willows are two of the nicest people you could meet.

But that does not mean they do not have a dark side.

And it does not imply that they are not musically fearless.

The couple’s excellent new album Before Darkness Comes A-Callin’ has ten tracks of shadowy tales of ruin and risk.

The new record is the pair’s second release, a follow-up to Till The North Wind Blows (2012).  Reportedly they weren’t totally happy with the way that earlier release was assembled, with too many isolated layers in a somewhat clinical recording process.  This time around, they decided on a more collaborative and organic method.

They also resolved to be bold and stretch themselves.  Enlisting the services of Grammy Award winning engineer Ryan Freeland (Justin Townes Earle, Bonnie Raitt, Joe Henry, The Milk Carton Kids, Aimee Mann), The Weeping Willows travelled to L.A. to work with Freeland and a bunch of top session players at Stampede Origin Studios, none of whom they had met before.

Before Darkness Comes A-Callin’ is a testament to their vision and courage.  ‘Devil’s Road’ is a powerful cautionary opener with their voices beautifully intertwined, as if one utterance.  There is much destructive desire and surrender in the single ‘River of Gold’ with Wrigglesworth’s excellent guitar (a feature throughout) underpinned with patterned banjo.  ‘The Pale Rider’ is a creepy, rhythmic and mesmerising cry for help, while ‘Travellin’ Man’ is one of the most heartfelt folk ballads I have heard for quite some time, a bittersweet triumph.  ‘Fallen Ring’ is a jaunty rag with a deep message of the road to ruin.  ‘Valley of Darkness’ is more country, with aching pedal steel to match the plaintive lyrics.

If ‘Travellin’ Man’ is a high-water mark in songwriting, the closing ‘When The Sun Came Down’ is glorious in its ambition and a clear sign of the duo’s abilities and possible future direction – an uplifting a capella experience which, when completed, leaves a deafening silence.

Before Darkness Comes A-Callin’ is a mature, courageous and beguiling experience.

All songs were written by Wrigglesworth and Coates, except ‘Devil’s Road’ and Travellin’ Man’ which were co-writes with the very talented Lachlan Bryan.

The seasoned players on the album are: Kevin Breit (Rosanne Cash) on banjo, David Piltch (Billy Bragg) on upright bass, Tommy Detamore (Ray Price) on pedal steel, Luke Moller (Kasey Chambers) on fiddle and mandolin, and guest vocals on ‘When The Sun Came Down’ from excellent Melbourne duo Sweet Jean.



The Weeping Willows – photo by Jim Jacob

The Weeping Willows have just started an extensive national tour from March to May 2016  (see dates below).




Thursday 10th March: Royal Oak Hotel, Launceston with Ange Boxall TAS

Friday 11th March: Spring Vale Wines, Cranbrook with Ange Boxall TAS

Saturday 12th March: Republic Bar & Café, Hobart with Ange Boxall TAS

Sunday 13th March: The Pizza and Wine Club, Kyneton with Ange Boxall VIC

Monday 14th March: House Concert, Ferntree Gully with Shane Nicholson VIC

Friday 18th March: Babushka Bar, Ballarat with Mitch Power VIC

Saturday 19th March – Sunday 20th March: The Basin Music Festival, The Basin VIC

Friday 25th March: Billyroy’s Blues Bar, Bendigo VIC

Sunday 27th March: T’Gallant Winery, Main Ridge VIC

Friday 1st April: Harmonie German Club’s ‘Friday Night Live’, Canberra ACT

Saturday 2nd April: Django Bar, Marrickville NSW

Monday 4th April: Jane’s, Wollongong NSW

Sunday 17th April: Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh with Bill Chambers VIC

Sunday 24th April: T’Gallant Winery, Main Ridge VIC

Friday 29th April – Sunday 1st May: Mount Beauty Music Festival, Mount Beauty VIC

Friday 6th May: The Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale with Andy & Marta SA

Sunday 8th May: The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton with Andy & Marta SA

Friday 20th May: Bendigo Folk Club, Bendigo VIC

Friday 17th June: Berwick & District Folk Club, Berwick VIC



We review Before Darkness Comes A-Callin’ by The Weeping Willows



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Author: Rob Dickens

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