The Woodpile: A Homey, Wyoming-based Listening Experience
I’m just gonna say it. I have a musical bias – in favor of the cello. Any group that includes this warm, soul-filling instrument (see? Total bias.) is gonna be a hit with me. Lucky for those of you planning to attend the Beartrap Summer Festival, the only bias you’ll need to enjoy The Woodpile is an appreciation of great music.
The Woodpile is an indie folk/rock band out of Laramie, Wyoming. Formed in 2016, current members include founder Evan Gwin on vocals and guitar, Brendan Ruwart (vocal, percussion, banjo), Molly DeLau (bass, cello!) Jessie Salas (cello! vocal) and Jesse Twitchell (electric guitar, vocal). They met through their connections both at the University of Wyoming music department and the Laramie community.
Browsing through their Facebook page, I found their story, which tells us that “music by The Woodpile is created with unique and thoughtful composition techniques that enhance the sounds and textures of a variety of instruments. Rich, sweet melodies from the cellos (that’s the description in their story, not just my bias talking!) are accompanied by energetic electric guitar, and groovy bass lines, with a tight, rock-influenced rhythm section. Unorthodox song arrangements use lyrics derived from folk storytelling, portrayed through dense vocal harmonies. The prominent use of acoustic guitar pairs nicely with the occasional appearances of the banjo or mandolin, providing a homey, Wyoming-based listening experience.”
It’s not just hyperbole, folks. I’ve just finished listening to a live version of their song “Hunting Hearts” for the 5th time in a row (there’s no cello on this tune, but I can’t stop listening to the acoustic, electric and bass guitar each bring their own vibe to the song.) While much of their music does evoke a “homey, Wyoming-based listening experience,” this song expands and transcends that simple description. In fact, I’m finding out, a lot of their music does.
Now that I’ve forced myself to take a break from “Hunting Hearts,” I’m watching The Woodpile as they appeared live on Wyoming Public Radio back in January (wait…only 95 views? Come on, folks –let’s see if we can push that number up into the triple digits and beyond, because this group deserves it) – and even though it’s nowhere near December, their Christmas Medley is filled with unique versions of some traditional favorites that might just make my Holiday playlist this year.
Speaking of playlists, they even made the 2019 Wyoming Road Trip playlist, which you can listen to on Spotify. Roll down the windows, put your feet up on the dash (metaphorically, as that’s not actually advisable or safe) and groove to tunes by “some of the hottest bands in Wyoming.”
They’re not just one of Wyoming’s hottest bands, folks – they’re one of the hottest bands I’ve heard in a while – with or without the cello. Pretty sure after their upcoming performance on the mountain, you’ll think so too.