What do you think of when you think of home? A place? A word? Even a person perhaps?
For Rosie and Zoe, there seems to be an almost irresistible pull to the river; a ‘safe space’ which signifies a sense of both home, and life on the road. The River is also the title of their upcoming single and much-anticipated EP. Having met as music students near the River Mersey in Liverpool, before graduating and moving to London’s Greenwich, a small, historic town on the banks of the River Thames. They found a spiritual home in Nashville, where they lived, wrote & recorded their 2017 debut Go Get Gone with Grammy-nominated producer Neilson Hubbard. Rosie & Zoe reflect on seeking solace by the waterside, from the Tennessee Cumberland River, right back to their earliest childhood memories. A River seems to be an apt symbol – it is solid and permanent in many ways, but the water is constantly in flux, constantly evolving. The enduring location of a river reflects the solidity of their musical unity, but the motion of the water reflects recent changes in both of their respective personal lives.
The songs on The River EP deal with grittier and more urgent themes. From dealing with the loss of loved ones; coming to terms with sexuality and mental health struggles, to the many ways a heart can break and be rebuilt. Life’s permanence is constantly in motion. Whatever it throws at you, you know the river is always in motion, but it’s still permanent. Like home.
Despite having to contend with the ebbs and flows of life, their star is in the ascendant. Blending the tender urgency of Zoe’s Irish-influenced voice and unique banjo style with the fiery integrity of Rosie’s vocals and rhythmic guitar, the duo gained critical acclaim with a ‘Song of the Year’ nomination at the UK Americana Awards. This lead to them performing at London’s historic Hackney Empire with Ethan Johns, alongside Robert Plant and Mumford and Sons. The song was Endless Road, a favourite of BBC Radio 2’s Whispering Bob Harris and co-written with Jeff Cohen, with whom the duo also came together to write two songs on the EP – including the eponymous The River. The track was produced by Aidan Laverty, one half of Hoxton-based production duo Huntsmen (Foals, Scott Matthews) and offers a switch in gears sonically, being led by electric guitars, re-amplified banjo and pounding drums, as well as those signature harmonies.
The River is available on all streaming platforms now, before the duo embark on a 7 week UK/EU tour starting October 2nd. The River EP is out on November 8th, the same night they play a full band launch show at The Lexington, London.
Words by Rinku Yunusa