Some musical artists are clearly defined in their sound and their genre. Others opt to jump from style to style. The members of Woodbine Falls have combined their musical influences into a distinctive blend that makes them stand out from the crowd.
Woodbine Falls is a five-member, Astoria-based band that features singer Laura Kivlen, guitarist Eric Cecil, flutist Kaori Fujii Cecil, upright bassist Ray Cetta and drummer Coleman Bartels. With styles and influences that include jazz, classical, blues and rock, the group faces a challenging, but ultimately rewarding songwriting process.
“This makes for both an interesting and challenging writing process. At first, it was difficult to find a common language and direction, but now the songs have evolved to blend all the various elements into a sound that is truly unique,” Kivlen said. “It’s definitely not your typical band instrumentation, but that is what gives us our original sound.”
Woodbine Falls is not just the name of the band, but is also a waterfall in Red Lodge, Mont., that served as the catalyst for three of the members. Eric had grown up in the area and was eventually married to Kaori in Red Lodge. While they were back for the wedding, the two sent Kivlen to hike the trails that led her to Woodbine Falls.
Several months later, Kivlen and Eric started writing together, with Kaori deciding soon after to contribute to the group as well.
“It was clear we needed a name. Woodbine Falls was an obvious choice, perfectly capturing the haunting melodies of our first songs,” Kivlen said.
Since then, the band has made Astoria its home base, finding that the neighborhood was a hub of musical talent, lacking the spectacle that is attached to Brooklyn artists.
“It’s interesting, a lot of focus with bands is automatically on Brooklyn. But we personally know many great bands and professional musicians who proudly live in Queens,” Kivlen said. “If anything, our surroundings allow us to concentrate more on the music and less on the pageantry.”
Woodbine Falls’ debut single, “Chase the Blue,” was actually filmed in Astoria Park. “Chase the Blue” can be found on the band’s debut, self-titled EP, which was tracked at Spin Studios in Long Island City.
According to Kivlen, the EP was recorded mostly through live takes, with the exception of some overdubbing. With all of the necessary hard work being done ahead of time, Woodbine Falls was able to just focus on their performance once they entered the studio.
Woodbine Falls plans to record its first full-length album in July, working with engineer Mike Schultz. To support the album, the band plans to fundraise through RocketHub. Any additional money raised after they meet their goal will go to a charity for music education.
You can catch Woodbine Falls over the next two months at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2. The shows will take place on Feb. 16 and March 19 at 8 p.m. For more information about Woodbine Falls, visit www.woodbinefalls.com.