By Sean O’Grady


Before Darkness Comes A-Callin’ captures the enduring quality of old time music but imbues it with elements of country blues and the classic country duet sounds from the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Weaving around the powerful vocals of Laura Coates and the intricate guitar work of Andrew Wrigglesworth, the album delves into the dark and murky territory of southern folklore. The duo have started to make inroads in the U.S, recently signing a distribution deal with Redeye Worldwide.


The Northsider spoke to Laura recently about their new album and their upcoming run of shows before they head overseas.


“It’s an interesting time for us at the moment; we have just finished off our five month album launch tour. We are having a short break before we roll into a few more Australian gigs before we head over to the U.S for a month,” she said.


Before Darkness Comes A-Callin’ doesn’t tread the familiar path, there are some delightful detours along the way. The opening guitar refrain of The Devil’s Road channels the country blues stylings of Robert Johnson while Travellin’ Man, a pensive lament, draws on the classic country duet sounds of the late 1960’s.


I asked Laura about the influences that permeate the album and she responded with: “we are big fans of harmony singing from Johnny and June and George and Tammy in the 1960’s and then moving forward to Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, Iris Dement and The Civil Wars. Andrew’s influences go way back, Merle Travis, Doc Watson and even further back to Robert Johnson, he is into that finger style guitar.”


The Weeping Willows album


It was a rather lengthy process crafting the new album as Laura explained: “this one has been a long time coming, our debut was released in early 2013 and since then we have been writing for the new album. We wanted to make sure we had the right ten songs. The last song on the album When The Sun Came Down is probably four years old, it missed our first album whereas Pale Rider was written just before we went into the studio.”


There is a timeless quality in each of the songs on the album. I asked Laura about the writing process.


“Andrew develops the guitar part first, whether it’s a theme or a tune he has going, then he will develop a lyrical theme and from there that is where I come in to help finish the song. We strive to be of the times and as universal as possible. There aren’t references to modern day technology, it can take you back to any time period. Andrew loves to pour over old myths and legends of the south . That is partly where The Devil’s Road came from,” she said.


The Weeping Willows travelled to Los Angeles to record the album working with Ryan Freeland who has worked with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Ray LaMontagne and The Carolina Chocolate Drops. I wanted to know why they had chosen to go to the U.S to make the album.


“We wanted to record in America with someone that our idols had recorded with. We wanted something that was stripped back. I emailed him in the morning and within four hours he responded with let’s make it happen! We were there for three weeks and in the studio for five days,” she commented.


The Weeping Willows are performing at the Americanafest at the Retreat Hotel in Brunswick on Sunday August 21st.

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