Episode 18 features our discussion with the Three Merry Widows. We sat down with the band in advance of their reunion show at The Ready Room. We discuss getting the band back together in the same room to play music after 20 years, stories about touring and living in Boston before they were signed, issues with the record label, what gear it took to recreate their sound, and much more.
For those of you reading who weren't around in the early '90s, the music scene in St. Louis had a different vibe. There was excitement in the air with multiple bands getting national attention from indie and major labels. While there wasn't a defined sound (read: Seattle or Athens, GA) in town, many of the bands drew influences from the 1960s and 1970s. The best of those bands merged elements from different genres into their own fresh take. In those days before the internet, these groups drew attention from the labels and getting their "shot" to share their album with the world.
Formed in 1988, the Widows worked as a band for a couple of years around town honing their psychedelic-folk-rock sound and working on original material. In a truly dedicated effort to get signed by a label the band moved to Boston for the better part of a year to play to college crowds on the East Coast and a closer proximity to the A&R people at the record companies.
In the fall of 1990 and winter of 1991, the quintet recorded their debut album, Which Dreamed It?, with producer Peter Henderson at Ardent Studios in Memphis and released it in the spring on TVT Records. The first single, "Black Halo," one of their earliest original songs, made it to the top ten of the College Music Journal charts. Their hard work drew praise and drew a strong, loyal following in St. Louis and won them top honors in seven categories in the 1991 Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis issue including Best Rock & Roll Band, Alternative Band, Local Band, and Best Club Concert, Original Music, Recording, and Female Vocalist. Their dreams were short lived when they came to understand the harsh realities of the music business. Rather than let the record label dictate their course, the group eventually decided the best route was to disband and went their separate ways to pursue other music projects.
However, longtime fans of the Widows have a special treat to see them perform again. The group will play a reunion show with guests Cold Hearted Strangers on Saturday, February 7, 2015 at The Ready Room in The Grove located at 4195 Manchester in St. Louis. Original members Alice Spencer, Sean Garcia, Brian Simpson and Charles Shipman will be join by veteran St. Louis musician Danny Hommes on drums. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.
We appreciate the time we had with Alice, Sean and Brian to record this episode. Squeezing our session into a busy weekend of rehearsals was above and beyond and we could not be happier with the way it turned out. If you'd told me when I was 18 that in 2015 I'd be recording an interview and songs with a band that I enjoyed, influenced me as a musician and I generally looked up to in the local scene I would have never believed you.
Moreover, we'd like to thank Thomas Crone. His love of promoting the music and art of his friends in the St. Louis scene is unmatched and he's been a true champion of the Widows for 25 years. He was gracious enough to let us record this podcast at the Tick Tock Tavern early on a Saturday morning before the bar opened. Again, if you have not had the chance to visit this little corner bar yet, we highly encourage you to do so at their location at 3459 Magnolia, St. Louis, MO 63118. Enjoy a cold tasty beverage, and while you are there head on next door and grab a delicious hot dog from Steve's Hot Dogs. We owe you, Thomas!
Thank you for listening and please tell your friends about our musical labor of love. We are working on more future episodes and always looking for more topics and bands to feature.
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Thanks for listening, more coming soon!