Blending socially conscious lyrics with intricate compositions to evoke a sound that is wholly inimitable. Under the Willow is a Nomadic Newgrass Band growing roots across the nation and helping revive the love of traditional Bluegrass instrumentation in the hearts of a new generation.
Fronted by Erin Donovan whos distinctive vocals and ravenous fiddle playing she is supported by a superb cast of multi-instrumentalist. Hayley Skreens lead and back up vocals and harmonies blend seamlessly with Erin’s voice. Patrick Donovan’s compositions and electric stage presence is a driving force in the bands collaboration and live performance. Joe Lenza’s unique picking style and exploratory sound grooves right in with the Willow. At times they will trade their instruments with each other, each equally proficient on guitar, mandolin or banjo. Each bringing their own style and approach to whichever instrument they are playing at any given time. Whether Under the Willow is playing a traditional bluegrass tune or a “Newgrass” jam, they produce a sound that will quench your soul and have you stomping your feet!
“If you want to hear music that is positive and inspiring without being cloying or saccharine, look no further than emergent Chicago based band Under The Willow. Oh… those vocals on “We Are Cold”! They could give a guy chills, especially served up amongst compelling acoustic sounds. It became my jam in the home stretch of the brutal Chicago winter and I swear it helped melt some of the snow.” -Steve In My Jams – The Barn Presents
Founded by Mr and Mrs Donovan in 2008 they began growing The Willow. To make the bills Pat and Erin found work at a music store in the suburbs of Chicago. There they met Hayley and Joe. Sharing a love of acoustic music Hayley, Patrick, Joe and Erin began jamming from time to time. When they started playing out at open mics and after a few shows it quickly became clear what was meant to happen. Pat and Erin asked them and the 2 couples joined forces in Fall of 2010. With a half a year of playing together and their self titled first album under their belts Under the Willow went full time. They left the music shop, bought a beater RV and started touring the nation relentlessly.
“The band is composed of two multi-instrumentalist couples, which might be kind of an understatement since the members are constantly trading instruments between songs without missing a beat, all the while being led by two powerful female vocalists and the whole group dancing along with the crowd.” – Quinn Mcgee – Heave Media
Playing festivals and venues all across the country spreading their roots and crafting their sound. Spending winters in Florida basing out of Tampa and Spring, Summer and Fall touring the rest of the country. They have played at Yonder Mountain’s Harvest Festival, Gasparilla Music Festival (GMF Tampa), Shoe Fest, Naperville Ribfest, Nippersink Music Festival, Moondance Bluegrass Festival, Beaver Island Music Festival, Hometeam New Year’s Rally, Little Manatee River Jam, Downtown River Jam, Summer Stomp, Spring Jam, Widow’s Peak and many more across the country. Under the Willow has supported some great acts since they began touring including Jason Isbell, Fruition, Cornmeal, Old Shoe, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Dead Winter Carpenters, White Water Ramble, Useful Jenkins, SHEL, Donna the Buffalo, Big Leg Emma, Way Down Wanderers, Applebutter Express, Kitchen Dwellers and many more note able national touring acts.
“With no drums, their songs sound light as air. This was the strings to sing like sirens as they made sounds with haunting echo like quality.” – June – Fan-Fiddle-Tastic! ShoeFest 2013
In 2015 Under the Willow toured across the United States relentlessly having played around 150 live shows. Balancing their time between a busy touring schedule and writing songs. Spreading their music and honing their sound and live performances. 2016 shows no signs of slowing down on the touring schedule. However, they made the time to begin work on their 2nd studio album this Spring. They’ll be back at In the Woods Studio with producer Mike Bowen who worked with them on the first album. So keep an eye out for Under the Willow coming to a town near you! And keep an ear out for some new music to be released this year! Exciting stuff for us Willow folk! Keep up to date at UnderTheWillowMusic.Com