When musicians Jack Wells and Mel Tarter relocated to Portland three years ago from their hometown of Detroit, they were looking for a change and a new home for their folk rock band Those Willows.
“We were at a crossroads in our lives,” recalls Wells. Although he admits that the abundance of great mid-sized venues and the quality of the local music talent were a big draw for them at the time, “the mountains, food and beer [didn’t] hurt either.”
Since moving to the Northwest, they’ve added band members Mike Grippi on bass and Josh Hertel on drums, recorded two EPs, and thrown themselves into the tight-knit Portland music scene.
“It seems like everyone we meet in the music community here plays in two or three bands,” says Wells. “We’ve all taken a page from that book and have been playing in multiple projects trying to expand ourselves musically.”
But Those Willows will always have roots in Detroit, and that city remains their major influence.
“We have always loved Motown and soul music, and we think it shows in our newest album more than ever,” says Wells. “Detroit also has a really impressive jazz scene that we only had the chance to scratch the surface on, but it stuck with us.”
Those Willows’ forthcoming self-titled sophomore album is due out in mid-November. The album was recorded and produced in spring of 2016 by Adam Brock of Old Wave in his personal studio in Portland and features contributions from Brock, cellist Zach Banks and Patti King of Radiation City. You can hear the album’s first single, “Some Kind Of Love,” exclusively at opbmusic (above).
“Some Kind Of Love” is a complicated folk pop song, both musically and lyrically. The track’s time signatures change on a dime, and it’s littered with vice grip vocal harmonies that shift impressively with the flickering pace. According to Wells, the lyrics deal with “an argument where both parties are actually fighting for the same thing,“ a recurring theme on the album.
The “Some Kind Of Love” single release party is September 18th at The Secret Society in Portland, OR with Tango Alpha Tango and Weezy Ford. The band is also touring the Western United States throughout the month of September.