We Are The Willows and The Homestead Records/Amble Down Records are gearing up for the double vinyl release of Picture (Portrait) parts 1 and 2 on March 25th. Available for pre-order now at WeAreTheWillows.com, the release of the double vinyl album will mark the first time Part 2 is available to the public as the companion to Part 1, which among others was featured by Buzzfeed, BBC 6, Noisey, Magnet, Paste, and BrooklynVegan.com, who lauded the music as “orchestral indie rock that’s not too far removed from Illinoise-era Sufjan.”
Derived from a series of 350 letters written by songwriter/frontman Peter Miller’s grandfather to his grandmother while he was stationed in the Southwest Pacific during World War II, their correspondence inspired Miller to explore themes of family, separation, life, death, and identity in a time of national and personal crisis. Following their appearance last week at SXSW for a showcase event at Lambert’s, Glide is premiering “July 5th, 1942” (below) a two minute charmer that explores the quaint boundaries between colorful melodies, warm instrumentation and powerful lyrics.
“Picture (Portrait) is based on over 350 letters my grandpa wrote to my grandma while he we was stationed in the South Pacific during WWII,” describes Miller. ” July 5th, 1942, is a date he referred to many times over the course of his deployment. I could never really tell what happened on that date that made it so special. In the letters, he recalls their “love making,” which at first, I thought meant that they had sex, but I have since learned that in the 40’s that meant flirting. Interestingly, he also refers to having a profound religious experience on that date. This song explores the language of religion and love and how both seemed to inform each other. ”
We Are The Willows’ orchestral indie-rock ensemble features Miller’s unique countertenor voice and guitar, supported by Jeremiah Satterthwaite (guitar/banjo), Leah Ottman (violin/voice/keys), Hilary James (cello/voice/keys), Travis Collins (bass), and Stephen Lindquist (drums/voice). Together they craft dynamic, intimate songs with instruments and voices combining to create energetic rhythms and intricate melodies. Their heartfelt arrangements evoke shared nostalgic feelings of love and loss.
In the year since the release of Picture (Portrait) Part 1, We Are The Willows have toured across North America, playing dates with the likes of Blitzen Trapper, PHOX and S. Carey. The band have also appeared at music festivals including Treefort and SXSW 2015/2016 where they performed on multiple showcases.