Whitherward brings its eclectic indie folk to the Morro Bay Wine Seller on Feb. 17
BY GLEN STARKEY
In their video for “The Dragon,” Whitherward—an indie folk duo from Nashville that’s been on continual tour since they left a couple of years ago—filmed in Cambria’s Nitt Witt Ridge of all places.
The weird, folk-art house constructed by reclusive artist Arthur “Art” Harold Beal (aka, Der Tinkerpaw or Captain Nitt Witt), who was a Cambria garbage collector in the ’40s and ’50s, is made of recycled materials, concrete, and a whole lot of junk. Think of it as the anti-Hearst Castle.
In the video, Ashley E. Norton sings about her inner dragon as the film cuts creepily between interior shots of Nitt Witt Ridge and a deserted woods, giving it an intense horror film feeling. She’s accompanied by Edward A. Williams, her musical partner in crime.
The feeling and tone of the song stands in sharp contrast to their other locally filmed video for “Hand of Fate,” which finds the duo hamming it up around Morro Bay near Morro Rock, the giant chessboard, and other local landmarks. The two videos do an excellent job of illustrating how diverse this pair is—there’s no easy, pithy way to sum up their sound other than that it’s original and un-nameable!
“My best friend and I formed the duo back when we were living in Nashville,” Norton said. “We left two years ago to tour the country full time, throwing everything in storage and living out of our Subaru to play music we love for people who love music. It’s been a real struggle but also extraordinarily rewarding at the same time. We love coming through the Central Coast.”
The videos are extremely cool looking, the work of filmmaker Howard Ignatius, who’s working with the duo again this month for a third video to be released with their fifth collection, The Anchor. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that Whitherward has been playing a ton of shows this month, mostly in Morro Bay and Paso Robles.
This Friday, Feb. 17, Whitherward will play the Morro Bay Wine Seller (6 p.m.; $10), bringing along Arizona-based musicians Patrick Hershey on upright bass and Stephanie Groot on violin.
“We’re here for the whole month of February, preparing and shooting this thing, and we have a ton of shows in the area to support us while we’re there,” Norton said. “We’re moving up the coast at the end of the month to tour across the country for the fourth time and possibly Europe later in the year.”
Their DIY ethos is nothing short of amazing, and Norton calls her duo a band on the run because they abandoned their old life and took the plunge. I think their hard work is paying off.
The duo’s dueling guitars and vocal interplay is fantastic, and they’ll be drawing material from their four previous EPs, their upcoming release The Anchor, and classics by artists such as Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, and more.
Check their website for other local shows, and check out their videos online!