Worry Dolls' beautiful new album Go Get Gone is an early contender for album of the year. As hasty as that statement sounds, this collection of soaring harmonies and modern indie-folk soundscapes is an incredibly refreshing listen. Inspired by the sounds and songs of Nashville but exuding classic British style, The London duo are already causing quite a stir and we're excited that they've decided to delve deeper into Go Get Gone with us; revealing the stories that inspired these magnificent songs.
From the incredibly bright and striking opener 'Endless Road' to the much more thoughtful and lovelorn ballad, 'She Don't Live Here', Worry Dolls have the opportunity to bring this classic sound and songwriting style back to the mainstream. Go Get Gone is most definitely a folk record, but it's purity and the raw talent of the pair could certainly bring them chart success too. Go Get Gone is an album that gave me chills and I've no doubt that it could do that for thousands across the country too, given the chance.
(Rosie Jones, Zoe Nicol, Jeff Cohen)
“I can’t help but wondering / How long I’ll be wandering Maybe I’m an endless road / Where I am’s where I call home”
We wrote Endless Road two days before heading into the studio. We already had enough songs (too many, in fact) for the album, but we’d been trying to lock down a co-writing date with Jeff Cohen for a while. We just had a feeling that whatever we wrote together would be special. We met Jeff for brunch before heading to his studio on Music Row, and a few hours later, we walked out with Endless Road.
The song is a vulnerable look at the sacrifices we’ve had to make when we chose to be touring musicians. Having spent the best part of a year on the road, It’s about the realisation that this is how it is now. It’s a life commitment - we’ll always be moving; travelling; having to say goodbye. It’s about acceptance; “I may never find a place to call mine, but maybe that’s alright”.
We spent the next day learning the harmonies and the banjo part, and we were both overcome by emotion. Perhaps it was because we were 4,000 miles from home, but the the true gravity of the lyrics seemed to hit us hard. We decided then and there that Endless Road needed to open the album.
(Rosie Jones, Zoe Nicol, Joe Doyle)
“Why think twice? Life’s too short / you’ve gotta take the ride There’s more to gain than what you stand to lose”
We starting writing Train’s Leaving on our first trip to Nashville last April. The trip completely changed our lives. We’d never felt more inspired, and songs were pouring out of us. Everyday we would drive downtown from our apartment and we’d have to cross the railroad tracks. Sometimes there would be a freight train passing, and you could be stuck there for 20 minutes, so we’d sit there and listen to music, or drive around through different neighbourhoods. Even just driving around was inspiring. We loved crossing the Cumberland river and seeing the Nashville skyline every day. Four months later we quit our jobs and moved out there.
We re-wrote Train’s Leaving on our return with Joe Doyle, and this is when we really understood the meaning of the song. It’s about overcoming the fear of doing something that may seem a little crazy, like spending your life savings upping sticks and travelling halfway across the world to record an album that wasn’t yet written. But sometimes you have to take the leap, and hope the universe will catch you. This song also inspired the title of the album, “No what if this or what if that. Farewell, so long. Go, get gone”
'Miss You Already'
(Rosie Jones, Zoe Nicol)
“Wish time would rewind / I’d hold you in my eyes I miss you already, I guess it’s no surprise”
Miss You Already is a simple country song about regret. We wrote it in our apartment in Nashville after finishing a
bottle of sweet tea moonshine - which felt appropriate. It started off as a joke - we were singing “I miss you already, and you’re not even gone” in a southern accent and thinking we’d written a country hit until we realised it was, in fact, already a country hit. But we changed the lyrics and the idea stuck. We carried on singing it in the car and on the plane on the way home, but we didn't write instrumental parts for it for months, singing it a’cappella at shows.
In the days leading up to the recording, we went to Pigeon Forge for a few days because a couple of friends had a log cabin out there (and obviously we had to go to Dollywood). We practised guitar and banjo parts whist sitting on rocking chairs looking out over the smoky mountains, which couldn’t have been more perfect for this song.
One of the most magical parts of this song is the pedal steel solo. Kenny Hutson played on nearly every track on the album - and having musicians of his calibre was one of the reasons we knew we had to record in Nashville. Neilson would play him the song, and he would record the second time around. He started to get so good, however, that Neilson started recording on the first listen. When listening to Miss You Already, we were all joking around and pretending to sing along and then Kenny suddenly plays this absolutely face-meltingly beautiful solo - without having ever heard the song before. We didn’t need to do a second take.
'Don’t Waste Your Heart On Me'
(Rosie Jones, Zoe Nicol, Doak Turner)
“Don’t waste your heart on me / we’ve been here before I’ll break it, I’ll break it. Don’t you know that I’ll break it?”
This song is about admitting that you can’t be everything the other person needs. We joke that it’s a warning to never fall in love with a musician, from the perspective of the musician! We’ve both made sacrifices in our personal lives for music - but more generally this song is about walking away from something good because you know it just isn’t right.
We wrote this with Doak Turner in a little writing room at the NSAI on Music Row. It felt a little bit like a therapy session - quite emotionally painful! This was one of the few songs we wrote to the banjo instead of guitar, giving it a different feel to the others on the record.
We definitely formed a bond with Doak that day - and a few months later he called us up and invited us to the CMA awards to say thank you. So there you go, you never know what will come out of a co-write!
'She Don't Live Here'
(Rosie Jones, Zoe Nicol, Mikael Liljeborg, Martin Lorentzson)
“The girl I am, who I was... She don't live here anymore"
Before we went out to make the record, Mikael Liljeborg (aka. Buford Pope) & Martin Lorentzson came over from Sweden to write with us at our house in London. We had a great time singing, drinking wine and writing for two days.
We’d finished two great songs and then we just started jamming and messing around on the piano. We came up with the lyrics, “what I am, who I was, all we were before” and kept playing it over and over. Some magic happened in the room at that point and the rest of the song fell into place very naturally. We sang songs to each other ’til the early hours and Mikael and Martin kept asking us to sing She Don’t Live Here.
This song is a reflection on a breakup. Picturing what your life would be had things worked out differently - reminiscing on the good times... “it’s easy to forget the bad”. It’s about realising that you’re not the person that you were back then but still questioning the choices you made.
When we were in pre-production with Neilson, he suggested that we record it with just pedal steel and piano, to bring a country element and fit better with the other songs. It wasn’t something that we had ever envisioned, but we will never forget hearing Kenny playing that steel part without ever hearing the song, and bringing us to tears! It is the first song we wrote together on the piano and will always be a special one.
'Bless Your Heart'
(Rosie Jones, Zoe Nicol, Telisha Williams, Doug Williams)
“Bless your heart / Girl he’s your problem now / Good luck with that Bless your heart / Hope you like what you’ve found / Don’t want it back”
The first ever co-write we had out in the States was with the wonderful East-Nashville based Doug & Telisha Williams (aka Wild Ponies). They agreed to write with us on a whim, with only one day’s notice. We’d been in town for a couple of days and were picking up the southern slang. One of the phrases that amused us was “Bless You Heart” - which we were told can be used to cushion the blow of any insult or to point out to someone that they are being a complete idiot. This was definitely a song that came from the title - as is often the case in Nashville. Sometimes we would go to co-writes and instead of being asked “do you have any ideas?”, they’d say “have you got any titles?”.
We wrote Bless Your Heart as advice to the new girlfriend. It’s about warning her, speaking from experience, that he isn’t what he seems - but wishing her the best of luck with him. Bless her heart...
It meant the world to have Wild Ponies playing on the record, especially on the song we wrote together. We extended the arrangement by adding some time for Doug to rock out Neil Young-style on the guitar. Out of this one song, we found an abundance of musicians - Doug & Telisha introduced us to Neilson & our drummer Megan and even let us stay in their house for a month. They are truly amazing people.
'Light Oh Light'
(Rosie Jones, Zoe Nicol, Ben Glover)
“Light oh Light / Where’d you go? / You left me lost way down below
Fire oh fire / Do you still rage? / There’s a cold wind blowing through my veins”
We wrote Light Oh Light on a day where we were feeling quite low on inspiration like we’d lost our spark. We had been looking forward to writing with Ben Glover for a while, but we had just finished an intense writers camp and were worried we’d run ourselves dry. We clicked with Ben instantly and felt like we could be honest with him. He asked us about the other songs we had for the album and what kind of song we wanted to write and who our musical inspirations were - and then he started playing a guitar riff which we loved, which later became a banjo part. This actually ended up being one of our favourite writers, because it felt like we were working through our mental block.
Everyone has bad days where they feel like they're in a hole and tired of feeling that way - but those days end. There’s always light after the dark - “I’ll hold on, the night will pass, and I know this song won’t last”.
This was one of the most exciting songs to hear being recorded and produced. Neilson had a perfect vision of what the song needed. Eamon's fiddle solo is one of our highlights on the album -
we’ll never forget driving home from the studio with the first mix playing it on repeat because we couldn’t quite believe it was our song!
“I’ve been played...I was just a passport to take you places”
Passport is, simply and bluntly, about being screwed over. Opening yourself up to the world can let in an awful lot of good, but we learned the hard way to not be too trusting... not everyone has your best interest at heart.
It's not one we ever thought would make the cut, but we played it to Neilson during pre-production and he was adamant about it being a stand-out song because it's so different from the others - he called it “messed up”. This song was written without chords on banjo which created an uncomfortable edgy feel when it was taken into the studio.
I don’t think either of us will ever forget listening to this song back in the studio when it was in the mixing stages. We both thought we hated it. I think it’s safe to say that the truth behind the song was too fresh for us to make an objective decision that wasn’t being influenced by the negative situation that inspired Passport in the first place. Listening back months later we both agree that this song is one of the growers and some songs just take more time to appreciate!
'Things Always Work Out'
(Rosie Jones, Zoe Nicol)
“Surely it's my turn, for the love I've lost out on?
I guess I'll just have to trust things always work out"
We wrote Things Always Work Out in our house in London just as we had decided to go back to Nashville. Everything was up in the air and we weren’t sure how we would make it all happen but we both knew we would figure out a way because it was something we just had to do.
It's our mantra, our cry and our prayer to the powers that be. Telling ourselves that even when it feels like things are slipping out of our control, when we work hard enough for something, and we truly believe in it - that things will work out the way they're supposed to.
The banjo and the harmonica parts led the song to a very stripped back, old-time feel. Because we wrote the song just the two of us, and it was so personal to our story, it felt like the right thing to do to have us playing it as we would live.
(Rosie Jones, Zoe Nicol, James Riley)
“Morning don’t come yet, you’re not welcome Time’s an old cassette, pause this moment”
Someday Soon is about not wanting to say goodbye. It’s a song full of hope and a promise to someone that you will return.
We wrote it in Nashville with James Riley, who’s actually from London. Little did we know that we would go all the way to Tennessee to write a folk song with a guy from England! We wrote it in three hours before heading to the Bluebird Café (listen for the sneaky lyrical reference), a few days before we left for the first time. We really felt like we had found our spiritual home and we both knew we had to go back to finish what we’d started. It was clear this wasn't the end, but we were overwhelmed at the thought of saying goodbye. In the song, we say we'll come back when the winter's through, but the happy part of this story is that we made it back to Nashville the same year before the winter even began.
It made sense to finish the album with this because we both agree, it's never goodbye with Nashville. We will always go back, but it will always be as hard to leave.
As you can imagine, singing this song in the studio back in Nashville was extremely emotional. It proved that anything is possible. We were back in Nashville that same year recording our album and singing this song. We both had our moments of crying through takes at the realisation that we had made it back. You can create your own dreams if you try hard enough.