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Two originals take on folk
The kind of music Dillan Witherow, 19, and Abby Mae Latson, 23, want to play might not be mainstream-radio-ready, but that works perfectly for them.
The couple makes up Witherow, a folk music duo from Port Angeles who happen to work in Sequim at The Good Book and Joyful Noise Music Center. Readers might know the two from their previous bands, Abby Mae & the Homeschool Boys and Witherow & Gibson. They built up local followings by playing multiple gigs throughout the area.
As a duo, they started playing shows in early May and are independently releasing their first album, “Standing on Shoulders,” on Friday, Nov. 23, at a CD release show in the CrabHouse Ballroom, 221 N. Lincoln St., Port Angeles.
Those who buy tickets in advance ($8) and at the door ($10) receive a copy of the new album, which includes an acoustic set followed by the duo playing with a full backing band on the other cuts.
They’ve been working on bits and pieces of the album since the summer and recorded over 10 days in August during long sessions at Robert Lang Studios in Seattle, where Death Cab for Cutie and Nirvana recorded. They went back and forth in the months to follow on some weekends to record more there and in Carlsborg with Jeremy Cays.
Witherow said the 10 tracks on “Standing on Shoulders” are grounded in acoustic guitar but also include a hodgepodge of country, rock, and big voices.
“We like the songs that aren’t necessarily a single,” Latson said.
The duo splits on their favorite songs from the album. Witherow likes “When Breath Is No More,” a song inspired by a poem by Latson.
He said while hanging out with her he discovered a poetry book with the poem.
“It’s not necessarily good for radio. There’s no chorus. It starts softly and builds into full orchestration.”
Latson likes “Suspended,” calling it an underdog.
“It’s in 7/8 time (signature) and beautifully done,” she said. “The dynamics of it are really cool.”
The title track, “Standing on Shoulders,” is the band’s original name. They switched to Witherow to avoid any confusion with a band of a similar name.
Witherow said they have a lot of unfinished songs but not all would work for the duo.
“I have a lot of rock songs up my sleeve, but we’re not a rock band. I also have some Celtic/punk songs, but again we’re not that kind of band,” he said.
What kind of band they are is one potentially on the rise. However, the pair attributes where they are now to their previous musical endeavors.
“No one would probably show up if it weren’t for our other bands,” Witherow said.
“People have been really supportive,” Latson said about building a fan base. “I hope they come out for this show.”
Looking back at the end of Abby Mae & the Homeschool Boys this summer after three years, Latson said she loved playing and recording with them. (Members included Joey Gish, Hayden Pomeroy and David Rivers.)
“They were always so full of energy,” she said.
“With the Homeschool Boys it was foot-stomping all the time. Working with Dillan, it’s more of a chance to write my own music. This is a new speed and a totally different, separate animal. With this we can write more about the issues in our lives.”
For performances, Latson sings and plays guitar and violin while Witherow provides vocals and guitars. Their friend Jason Taylor will join them when touring on bass guitar. Following the release of the album, Witherow plans to release a music video and tour as much as possible starting next year.
If the big break to sign with a record label came along, Witherow said he isn’t opposed to the idea.
“To be honest, it’s not something I’m looking for,” he said.
“Standing on Shoulders”
1) “Standing on the Shoulders of
2) “Hold On “
3) “The Reckoning”
4) “Grass You Grow on Your Grave”
5) “For Your Heart!”
9) “For Abbygail” (instrumental)
10) “When Breath Is No More”