Be sure to tune into 313-507-3307 on MTV tonight at 11:00 PM to hear a special version of our song, “Black Diamond, Pink Diamond.” Â Uplifting television and beautiful music! Â You can listen to the studio version of the song Neotoma
Also the entire album- Whales and Roses is now available on Spotify!
Come one, come all! Â The official release of Whales and Roses is set to take place Wednesday, January 23rd @ Joe’s Pub!
There are still some excellent seats available here, tickets will not be sold at the door, so get them while you can!
Your $12.00 ticket will provide you with…amazing guest stars for your listening pleasure, wise-crackin’ stage bantor, new songs, all the hits from Whales and Roses (a few old favorites too) and a rousing good time!
We Are The Woods CD Release
425 Lafayette St. Â NY, NY
The first time I heard Jessie Murphy and We Are The Woods, I thought maybe they were a bit too sweet and pretty forÂ Guitar World. But on further inspection, Murphy has proved me wrong. She can enrapture and wail!
Part rocker, part quirkster, part folky, part songstress. Murphyâs parts make a very delightful whole. With the release of their new album,Â Whales and Roses, she and bandmates Marcia Webb and Tyler Beckwith create a concoction of peculiar and varied subject matter, spot-on harmonies, acoustical enchantments and a dash of fun.
We Are The Woods hail from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Murphy and Webb met up at Columbia University in New York City and decided that future cavorting was in their stars.Whales and RosesÂ was recorded with producer Jeremy Sklarsky (producer of Freelance Whales’ debut albumÂ Weathervanes) at Threshold Recording Studios in NYC.
I spoke to Murphy as she was preparing for its release, which is out now on Rex Records.
GUITAR GIRL’D: You must be excited. Youâve got a new album out.
Yeah! Iâm really excited about the record. Itâs my favorite thing that Iâve ever done together with my band. So Iâm really excited for people to hear it.
You guys did a PledgeMusic campaign for this album. Can you tell me a little bit about how that went?
We had great success with it. We did a funny sort of fundraising video that we thought was hilarious, and that other people thought was half as hilarious as we did – but thatâs still pretty hilarious! We made 50% over our target. 10% of the proceeds went to 350.org – an organization that we really support and we want to see succeed. Theyâre an organization that worked to fight the effects of climate change and bring awareness, and also try and secure a better future for our planet as a whole. So we felt really good about sharing the bounty with them, and it was great! We loved pretty much everything about PledgeMusic.
Letâs talk about your album a little bit more. What were your influences when you were working on this album?
The songs had been written over a longer period of time, and there were songs that didnât make it on our previous record that we put on this one. There were newer songs, too.
As far as the songwriting process goes, thatâs pretty diverse. I really wanted the album to be electric mainly. Our last album had been much more folky in some respects, with percussion as opposed to a full drum set. We talked about how we love the Fleet Foxes record for a current reference. We wanted a lot of classic sounds in there.
I grew up listening to Crosby, Stills & Nash, Cat Stevens and Simon & Garfunkel, and also the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Cream, and a lot of blues stuff. Iâm not sure if all that classic rock has an influence record, apart from the Jimmy Page tribute song, but itâs still a pretty organic sounding record with live instruments. Everything got played, thereâs no programming on the record. So thereâs that!
Tell me about the instruments you used on the record. What gear did you play?
I played a couple of different guitars. One of my favorite guitars I play a lot is a Gibson 446, which is the guitar that Pat Martino played in the â70s. Itâs a semi hollow body, cutaway, pretty lightweight guitar. Itâs not great at holding tune so it really shines in the studio, so you can retune at will.
The person that owns the studio is a guitarist, so he had a lot of guitars there. He had a really nice Tele that I played on some stuff, and he had a 335 that I played on some. We did do some acoustic layering just to fill out the songs. The ukulele was played by my band mate Marsha and our producer Jeremy. For most of the tracking we put it through an older Vox amp. I also brought in my Fender Deluxe Reverb, just because I really love the sound of that Gibson guitar through a Fender amp. Iâm definitely a Fender amp junky.
Is that what you use live?
You know, it kind of depends on the club. We do a lot of gigging in New York City, so the less you can tote in a cab, the better. Iâll suss out if they have a decent house amp. If they donât have anything, Iâll bring my Deluxe. I donât have a reverb pedal, but I do have a funny converted black face Champ thatâs kind of like a Frankenstein. If I had a reverb pedal, Iâd probably take that out, but I donât right now.
Do you play live with that Gibson 446?
I do, itâs a bone of contention right now with my band mates. I got this really lengthy, sweet email from a fan that was basically working up the chutzpa to tell me that my guitar was really interfering with the crowd! She was like, âEvery time you tune, Marsha has to talk.â Marshaâs really awesome, but you can just tell that she doesnât know what to say. So I wrote back and said âLook, weâre on it, I just have to get the resources together to fix the guitar.â
I did recently pick up a guitar that was at my parents, itâs a black Fender Telecaster Aerodyne I think? Itâs made it Japan. This businessman gave it to me as a gift a while ago. He thought he was going to play guitar when he turned 40, and it didnât happen.
My chops escalate at least four notches when I go from the Gibson to this guitar because the actionâs really low and I think itâs got 10s on it. Iâm used to 11s. So thatâs kind of fun. My husbandâs like, âWow, youâve gotten so much faster!.â Iâm like, âItâs the guitar.â But Iâm happy to forecast that illusion for everyone!
I read a Jimmy Page interview one time where they asked him, âWhatâs your advice to young guitarists?â And he said, âUse lighter strings.â That was all he had to say! So why not, right? So the Telecaster might become my main guitar. I love my 446, but itâs a bit of a situation.
Well maybe youâll get to a point where you can rotate and someone can tune it for you.
Yeah, thatâd be cool!
Speaking of live shows, are there any songs on this new record that you particularly love to play live?
Yes. I still study guitar. I have an awesome friend who I take lessons with periodically. I had this thought at 18 that when Iâm 30, Iâll be a virtuoso, and thatâs not the case! I stopped playing electric, because some boyfriend had told me he liked my songs a lot better on acoustic. So I played acoustic for years.
And then it just hit me, you know, acoustic is just not my spirit animal. I love the acoustic, but thatâs not really where my voice is. So I went back to electric and have just really started improvising and playing lead again. So right now, âLaser Light Showâ is the only song in the set that has an extended solo in it. So thatâs my favorite because, you know, who doesnât like to take a solo? So Iâm really getting back into pedals now and all the options there. âLibraryâ is also a favorite right now. It took us awhile to tighten it up live, so that the power and energy of the song comes through and the timing is really solid – and now it is. I love playing it because itâs so locked in.
I like that song, because itâs just quirky! I like what itâs about. Iâve never heard anybody sing about that.
Yeah, it needed a song right? The verses are actually lines pulled from Emily Dickinson poems. I think I pulled them from two or three different poems. Thatâs the little nod to her. Yeah, itâs a fun song.
So any thoughts or advice you can share with other guitar players out there?
Yeah, well, obviously… practice. Ha ha. I think Iâll share my motto with is âlearn any which way you can.â I remember when I started to play, I had this really rigid idea of how you were supposed to learn on to play the guitar, the authentic way to do it. And that was strictly transcribing everything by ear. Turns out, Iâm not very good at that!
At this point, Iâm decent at it, because Iâve been doing it for a long time, but when I first started I just didn’tâ have the natural knack for it like a lot of people do. I heard one of my favorite guitarists, Ronnie Earl, say that he was terrible at it! He just made up something that was close. That was very liberating for me to hear. In this day and age, when you have access to YouTube and great magazines likeÂ Guitar World, just go for it.
Play with anyone you can whoâs better than you. Leave your ego on the side of the road. Be aggressive about it, be like, show me how to do that. Thatâs how I learned a lot, by being a pushy New Yorker! Anyone that was better than me, I would try and play with them. Thatâs a way to learn really well, by picking up things directly from another person.
We Are the Woods
Whales and Roses
Lovely and evocative, We Are the Woodsâ hushed harmonies, twilight vocals and intimate melodies converge for a debut album that strongly suggests theyâre a band worth watching. A previous EP,Â Eight Belles, gave guitarist Jessie Murphy the main billing, but here the band operates on all the same cylinders and produce a set so assured most bands wouldnât realize its proficiency until several sessions on. Among the many standouts: the irresistible âGhost Is the Color,â a giddy âBlack Diamond, Pink Diamond,â the bracing âSubwayâ and the pop-pervasive âIn the Library.â The songs are crisp yet precious, cheery with a slight hint of fairy tale charm. Murphyâs been cited for guitar prowess, but this isnât a guitar album per se. Rather itâs an effort where ambiance and intrigue take center stage and that makes it one enticing escapade. This woodland journey is heartily encouraged.
This group is far from ordinary. Lead vocalist Jessie Murphy, along with bandmates Marcia Webb and Tyler Beckwith, create a whimsical world of harmonies accompanied by intriguing lyrics. With words so intricate they could be beautiful poems and attractive instruments such as woodwinds and the banjo, this group raises the standards for indie folk music.
The first song, âWhales And Rosesâ is extremely catchy and relatable. Singing of love and childhood escapades, Murphy says, âLove isnât for the faint of heart.â Right they are. Your foot will continue to tap the floor as the next track, âGhost Is The Color,â begins. The chorus will be stuck in your head after the first time around. âBlack Diamond, Pink Diamond,â is a tad too trippy for my taste. The song itself is decent, but the lyrics and content are strange. This time, the woodwind instruments make this track sound outdated, and the swooning repetition of âblack diamond, pink diamondâ make it sound even older. While the bandâs vibe isnât conventional, this song is one to skip over.
Number four begins with an upbeat banjo and upfront lyrics such as, âIf I hear something I donât like, you know Iâll punch you straight in the mouth.â The softness of Murphyâs voice is something you shouldnât underestimate. She has the ability to sing softly, but cut the jugular at the same time with her lyrics. The closing song, âHow We Loved Her,â is a mellow acoustic song with subtle strings in the background. Murphy and Webb sing in perfect harmony. Their voices alone make this song beautiful.
Some standout songs on the album are âWhales And Roses,â âIn The Library,â and âSubway.â Every time a new song begins, so does the journey. You feel included in a storyline that Murphy creates through her realistic lyrics. From their lyrical approach at poetry to their real as can be attitude, they set the bar high for others. This is how itâs done.
In A Word: Eccentric
âbyÂ (204) 367-4843, November 5, 2012