As Live & Local’s AW 2019/20 season begins we are introducing or re-introducing you to our roster of artists. Before they begin their shows in October, we had a chat with one of our new artists Worry Dolls to find out what to expect this year.
Warm, heartfelt harmonies. Worry Dolls. Sums them up. The interview could stop there. But then Paul McCartney comes up. Zoe Nicol and Rosie Jones met at university in Liverpool where they were both studying music. They had the chance to have their songwriting looked at by Paul McCartney. How did that feel? ‘We got to sit with him for a while and play songs we had written; he jammed along and gave us advice on how he likes to evolve a song melodically and rhythmically. It was very surreal!’
Surreal indeed. They continued to play a lot of open mic nights together and started singing on each other’s songs and writing together. They formed and took the moniker Worry Dolls when they graduated. The band name was something the pair bonded over from childhood: ‘…as kids, we spent a lot of summers at hippy camps. There was a lot of singing and storytelling around the campfire and arts and crafts, making dreamcatchers and worry dolls.’ Worry Dolls in case you didn’t know are tiny dolls made from matchsticks and scraps of fabric, traditionally made in Guatemala. You tell them your worries and put them under your pillow, and they take your worries away as you sleep. For Zoe and Rosie, this seemed like a fitting name as ‘music takes your worries away’.
They are both old hands at rural touring having both grown up in the countryside. They are positive about the upcoming dates as ‘it always feels good to get back to our roots. We love playing to crowds who really appreciate live music.’ For Live & Local, they’ll be performing as a duo. ‘We’ve been performing more with a band these days, but these intimate shows will allow us to get back to how we started.’ Rural Touring is special for the duo. They say ‘It gives us the chance to talk about the stories behind our songs and performing them as they were written, just the two of us on guitar and banjo to a wonderful listening crowd.’
Inspiration comes from all over from the Swedish First Aid Kit to duos such as Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings, their friends Wild Ponies from East Nashville. and the new record from the Highwomen. They don’t want much from the music they listen to ‘we [just] love beautiful harmonies’. Music from all over the world and all different genres have kept the Worry Dolls playing, touring and honing their songwriting but they admit ‘there are definitely some dodgy recordings out there of our first songs. Thankfully we’ve improved since then!’