“Down in a willow garden, My true love and I did meet, And we were a-sitting discoursing, My true love dropped off to sleep…” – Down in the Willow Garden.
A traditional song made popular by the Everly Brothers on 1958’s Songs Our Daddy Taught Us; Down in the Willow Garden sets the scene for Liverpool duo, The Big House.
“It’s a beautiful old folk song,” says singer Candie Payne. “We spent months learning Everly Brothers songs when we first started, to get our voices blending. This was a big favourite.”
The ‘we’ in question is Candie and her collaborator, Paul Molloy. They started singing together following the demise of the guitarist’s former band, The Zutons, and the release of Candie’s solo record, I Wish I Could Have Loved You More’.
“A new band only gets one chance to make a first impression,” says Payne. “We thought it was very important to develop our sound and then everything else can fall into place around that. That way, when people first hear you, they get what you’re about.”
With that in mind, The Big House have released a debut single and celebrate it with a launch gig at The Kazimier on Saturday, June 30th. The two track CD’s highlight is ‘Caught Up’: an uplifting celebration of finding love, with the duo’s West Coast rock ‘n’ roll vibe beefed up with a full band and horn section.
“Having a full band behind us really drives and lifts the song. The rhythm section brought out the beats and grooves already implied and the horns do what horns always do…”
She’s not wrong. It’s a real foot stomper and a tune that demands to be noticed. As do The Big House.
The duo has captured an aesthetic that suits.
Pop culture maybe obsessed with the past right now, but it’s the artists who really know where they’ve been, who get to go where they want to go: “I love 1930s, late 50s and early 60s styles,” says the indie chanteuse.
“But the music industry has changed so much that you need to keep on your toes and be adaptable to the best ways of fulfilling your goals.”
Which are? “They’ve always been the same: to write, perform and record beautiful music that people enjoy,” reveals Payne.
Find out if you enjoy the music this Saturday at The Kazimier. It’s a gig that comes highly recommended for those who like good songs, played impeccably and sang well. Simple music recapturing simpler times.
“It’s nice that we can be versatile and play as just the two of us, as well as with a full band,” she says. What can we expect? “A marvellous night of music and revelry…”
We’ll see you down in the willow garden…
The Big House, 7.30pm, Saturday 30th June 2012, The Kazimer, Wolstenholme Square, 0151 324 1723. Tickets £9 adv from The Music Consortium’s Vinyl Emporium, Bold Street (includes a copy of the debut single which can be collected in person on the night of the show upon producing a voucher supplied at point of sale). Support from Emily & The Faves and The Flamin Mamies.
Pic by Mark McNulty