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Review: Hey Wolf Willow, what the hell?

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

by Scott Roos

photos by Deanna Roos

This past Friday, June 23rd, the ridiculously ginormous band from Darston, Saskatchewan released their two song ep entitled Marv and Stoneface Sing . It's a two song ep which is being billed as a virtual 45 sequel to 2021 full length Old Guitars and Shooting Stars. The songs in question, "Hey Bruce" sung by bassist Marv Ptlosky and "Telling Myself Stories" sung by guitarist Stoneface Stanley, in general, slot into the slick, smooth, silky "countrypolitan" sound that the band has become known for. It's essentially a "wall of sound" but prettier. It's a less dusty take on the standard country fare but still maintains a teaspoon of soul and an ounce of grit.

"Hey Bruce" overall has an up tempo rockabilly vibe to it. Plotsky's Elvis Presley-esque voice permeates through the horns, congas, strings and pedal steel on this track with a determined swagger. The chorus has a memorable hook, too. The strong personality of Plotsky's stage presence in a live scenario translates well on this studio track. His voice is a great fit for this crew and it shows big time here.

By contrast, "Telling Myself Stories" starts out more as a tender ballad, somewhat in the vein of maybe an artist like Roy Orbison. Stanley is able to emote well as the dynamics of the song swell to a fever pitch on a giant chorus midway through that is befitting to the instrumentation. There's also a saxophone solo.

Overall, this ain't your daddy's pop country music meant to blare on his transistor radio, in a smoky old garage, while he fixes your car even though there's nothing wrong with it. Wolf Willow's music is something altogether unique and different. It's fresh and exciting to hear Wolf Willow taking risks with the confidence and determination to move forward. They always have, mind you, but, on this ep, they get things decidedly right. Where in the past, they've made a few head scratching decisions that seem like the group is throwing things at the wall to see if they stick, these two songs show a band that is on course and has captured the lightning in a bottle they've been looking for all this time. This is a highly recommended listening experience. Bravo.

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