We sent Worry Dolls over an interview via email just before The British Country Music Festival being held at The Winter Gardens in Blackpool. The band members are:-
Zoe Nicol - Vocals, banjo, ukulele, guitar Rosie Jones - Vocals, guitar, mandolin, banjulele, stomp
Here is what they had to say.....
Q - How long have you been writing and performing together?
We’ve actually been performing together for 10 years now. We used to sing and play in each other’s solo projects. When we graduated from uni, we formed Worry Dolls and we put out a couple of EPs before our debut album which came out in 2017. A lot of people ask if we’re sisters because our harmonies are reminiscent of the blood harmony you hear in sibling bands. Plus, we both have red hair and we’re only about 12 hours apart in age. But we didn’t meet until we were teenagers! Saying that, after such a long time as friends and musical partners, it definitely feels very natural to sing with one another.
Q - If you could invite the people who have influenced you in your music career to a dinner party, who would you invite?
Joni Mitchell, Michelle Branch, Eva Cassidy, Dixie Chicks, KT Tunstall, Martha Wainwright, Regina Spektor, Jenny Lewis… basically a room full of badass women!
Q - If you were to take one well known song and put your own country twist on it, which song would you choose?
We actually played out in Nashville last September for AmericanaFest and we has an amazing 6 piece band of Nashville players and we decided to cover “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac. Mostly because we got to totally rock out at the end, and we didn’t really have a song like that of our own. Performing that actually really inspired us to write a new song called “The River”, in which for the first time we really wrote with the band in mind. There is a heavy section at the end of the song where we get to throw our hair around on stage - it’s so much fun playing it and giving it everything we’ve got at the end of the set!
Q - If you had the chance of performing anywhere in the world, Where would your dream venue be?
The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. That, or The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival.
Q - What is your favourite thing to do when you are not performing?
We both really love being by the sea, or anything that involves water. Our song “The River” is actually about how being by the waterside really feels like a safe space for us. There’s something about looking out at the water, the wind in your hair and the smell of a fresh breeze that really helps to clear you mind. We recently played in Stockholm, which is a city completely surrounded by water; there’s rivers in every direction. On our first night, we went and watched the sunset from the dock and it was breathtakingly beautiful.
Q - What excites you about the British country scene?
The amount of new country festivals is mega exciting. We used to just have C2C, now we have The Long Road and Black Deer and now The British Country Music Festival which is the most exciting as it’s a real celebration of our home grown talent. It just goes to show that you don’t need a big American headliner, we have a huge amount of talent right here!
Q - Tell us the most unusual gig you've played, be it the venue or the situation you found yourselves in.
There has been probably too many to count… Some that spring to mind are the showcases we did at Folk Alliance in Kansas City, Missouri. The whole conference is in a big hotel, with big shows in the ballrooms until about 10pm, and then from 10pm until around 4am, every hotel room across 3 floors of the hotel becomes a showcase room. So you’re walking down the corridors and there’s music coming out of every single room. Each and every one an intimate, mind-blowing show! We did our own full band showcase, but we also did around 5 or 6 of these hotel room shows. They were so much fun, the crazy thing is you get some really important people in these rooms, and you just never know who’s going to wander in. It’s this real intense performer to audience experience. On that same trip, we also went a played a few shows at an all girl’s high school in Kansas City. It was our first (and only) experience of a real American high school. Having grown up watching them in the movies, it was so bizarre and cool to be there. It’s pretty similar to what you expect! The girls were awesome and they were obsessed with our accents (as were we with theirs).
Q - The British country music scene is growing fast. Each artist having their own take on what country music is to them. How do feel that our music stands up against the music coming out of America at the moment?
There’s no need to directly compare but there’s definitely a lot of talent here. The artists that are really killing it are those who are taking country and making it their own. On the surface it can seem like it’s a lot of trucks, beer and whisky but we all know that country, at its core, is just songs that encompass every aspect of human emotion, from love, to pain, to loss, to just having a good time! A good country song just needs to come from the heart and feel real and connect with the listener. It doesn’t matter if you’re singing around dirt roads in Texas or in Devon, it’s just got to be real. We both grew up in the countryside so we connect with nostalgic songs about about wide open spaces and small towns, leaving home and the countryside for the city for a dream. These are universal themes, not just American experiences. There’s some really talented artists this side of the pond doing just that - we saw Lisa Wright at a bar in Hoxton recently and she blew us away. Such a beautiful voice and heartfelt, quality songs that tell her authentic story. Not to mention that UK multi-instrumentalists like CJ Hillman, Stephen Barlow, Joe Harvey-Whyte & Pete Thomas would certainly give Nashville pickers a run for their money.
Q - Where do you see British country music in 5 years time?
More UK country artists being household names and getting mainstream attention, more major labels not being afraid of taking on country acts. The change in the last 5 years has been absolutely huge, it’s so exciting where things could go in another 5!
Q - What do you feel is the greatest achievement of your musical career to date?
We got nominated for a UK Americana Music Association award last year and we got to play the awards show with Ethan Johns in our band. Bob Harris was presenting and all the artists sang a Tom Petty tribute together at the end and we got to sing with Mumford and Sons and all these incredible musicians like Imelda May and Angaleena Presley. But most importantly, we got to sing on the same mic with Robert Plant. It was the maddest thing ever. If there wasn’t photos of the event, we wouldn’t believe it happened.
Q - Where can we find you on social media?
All our links are on our website, worrydollsmusic.com. We’re Worry Dolls across most platforms!
We have a huge tour coming up in October and November 2019, so check out all the ticket links on our website.