Dirty Dozen: Worry Dolls

Worry Dolls are a tenacious female duo born out of the joint talents of Zoe Nicol and Rosie Jones, who met in Liverpool when they were 18, both on their chosen path of becoming solo singer songwriters, and both falling under the spell of ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’. Rosie joined Zoe’s band as a mandolin player and backing vocalist and their great chemistry and love of harmony led to them starting a contemporary bluegrass band playing Nickel Creek, Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch songs together.

Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
We’re two singer-songwriters that have joined forces together as Worry Dolls. We write songs and sing them! We live together in South East London and we share an obsession for songwriting, harmonies and trips to Nashville. We live on a diet of tacos and buffalo spiced tempeh.

Zoe is from Kent & Rosie is from Devon. We met when we both played at the same open mic night in Liverpool. We bonded at a spontaneous trip to Alton Towers and started a band together covering Nickel Creek and Gillian Welch songs. We were studying music at LIPA and got paired together to play for Paul McCartney, which inspired us to start co-writing. We always used to play at each other’s shows and loved singing together, so in the end we just naturally merged!

How would you describe your music?
Harmonies, banjo & guitar. We try to write about different topics and perspectives. We love storytelling and hate writing cliché love songs.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
We both share a massive love for Dixie Chicks. Everything they stand for, their harmonies, their musicianship (especially Emily Robison’s banjo playing), the way they pay tribute to great songwriters like Patty Griffin. We got to write with John Hadley, who wrote Hello Mr Heartbreak, and we found this out on the day we wrote together which was extremely exciting.

What are you currently promoting?
We decided to release our debut album, Go Get Gone, in January when our birthdays meet at midnight on the 27th! We made the choice to wait a whole year just so we could release it on our birthday!

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
One of our favourites on the album that we wrote just the two of us is Miss You Already. We wrote this in our Air BNB in Nashville, having just finished off a jar of moonshine for the first time. We weren’t even trying to write a song, we were just drunk and started singing, and we kept singing it and it sort of wrote itself. We didn’t add instrumental parts for months, singing it acappella at shows. In the days leading up to recording our album, we went to Pigeon Forge and we stayed in a cabin looking out over the Great Smoky Mountains. There was a front porch and rocking chairs, and we sat in those chairs and wrote the banjo and guitar parts. It literally couldn’t have been more perfect for the song!

What are you currently listening to?
Right now we are loving Sarah Jarosz – Undercurrent. We LOVE her voice and her clawhammer banjo. We recently went to see her play at Union Chapel and we got to be proper fan girls. She’s one of those artists who creates music that sounds far beyond her years. Brent Cobb is another favourite of ours, an incredible songwriter who we play on the road on repeat. Lyrically he is so inspiring. He has an artistry that seems so effortless and natural.

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
Home by Dixie Chicks is timeless. It’s one of those records you can listen to time and time again and still hear something new. The combination of the songs, the bluegrass instrumentation and the harmonies makes it for us.

What are your hopes for your future career?
We’re in it for the long haul. We want to always be writing, making albums and playing live. Our bucket list consists of playing Shepherd’s Bush Empire, The Royal Albert Hall and The Ryman Auditorium. We’re taking it one day at a time!

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
We’d love to be able to travel the world writing, recording and performing music with a full band of like minded musicians.

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
The best part of being a musician is feeling like you have a purpose in life, being able to express yourself and help people through music. The best part of being in a duo is having someone that’s always there. Someone to motivate you, someone to laugh with, someone to travel home late at night with, someone to keep you awake on long drives and most importantly, someone to challenge you and argue with!

And the worst?
To truly be a real artist and musician there are several sacrifices you have to make to be the best you can be. We spent a lot of time away on the road which such busy schedules, so we don’t get to see our friends and family anywhere near enough. This can be challenging at times but reaching for something that doesn’t come easy is always far more inspiring and the rewards are completely priceless.

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
We’re about to embark on the largest UK tour we’ve ever done, 25 dates, and we’d love to see you out on the road!

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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