photo by adam gestwecki
CLAIRE HEYWOOD captivated audiences with a smoky, emotive voice and thoughtful lyrics in solo shows when she began performing in 2017. Her debut release, "The Wind, It Howls" sees her frank, lyric-driven vignettes of sensitivity and reckoning backed by a lively, soulful full band.
Two years after earning her English degree, while working at a literary/arts nonprofit and waxing poetic about pursuing an MFA, Claire Heywood began a concerted effort to quietly explore the craft of songwriting. She rented a room in North Carolina, studied songwriting, took voice and guitar lessons online, and began sifting through years of poetry with a guitar in hand.
In August 2017, Heywood started playing short sets in small listening rooms, mostly in connection with Colorado's Literary/Arts scene. Shortly after, she met producer/ studio owner Josh Olsen at an open mic. They teamed up to record her first release at Third and James studios.
In a collaborative, relaxed composition process, the band called on Heywood's influences from soul to pop and folk. The group pitched ideas to bring the songs to a fuller life while preserving much of the initial structure of Heywood's songs so that her intriguing vocal melodies and lyrics would remain familiar to fans of her solo shows.
Heywood released her first single, "Trails," in November 2018. The song "reflects a lonely struggle to find closure," she said, "A trail of light that follows you was an image that helped me understand what unresolved grief feels like in daily life." The image came from an idea mentioned in passing by a friend: When a person leaves loose ends untied, it creates an invisible loss of energy, which trails off behind her and toward whatever baggage she's avoiding.
The EP's title track "The Wind It Howls" was written as a way to understand what happens when love ends. The song toggles between denial, bargaining
and acceptance. As a lyric-writer, Heywood pulls in almost mystical images of the natural and human world throughout the album: wind, moons, snakebites, pine trees, dunes, dusk, an old woman's eyes, canyons, mothers, and wrens.
"Old Soul's Motel" is the restless and aspirational story of a woman claiming responsibility for her failed relationships and yearning for a place to recover alone. "I wrote it almost as a device to understand that I could take responsibility for my failures, that I could ask for guidance or find someone who knows something about the process of taking responsibility for yourself."
The Wind, It Howls was released with Heywood's full-band debut to an audience of 150 people at Syntax Physic Opera with support from Kiltro and Sydney Clapp. The music video for "Old Soul's Motel" was featured alongside an interview in Westword Magazine. 303 Magazine also published an interview with Heywood, calling the record "a deeply personal — yet unequivocally relatable — account of love and loss, redemption and healing." Salt Magazine and Culture Magazine followed with positive reviews of the record.
Heywood followed her EP release with a live-recorded set at The Headroom Sessions, an opening slot supporting Extra Gold at The Hi-Dive and her first performance at Underground Music Showcase. Ahead of the festival, 303 Magazine and Bolder Beat called Heywood's full-band UMS debut a must-see. Following the festival, 303 Magazine called her set "One of the 29 best shows we saw at UMS this year," noting that Heywood entranced the crowd and had "smokey vocals and introspective lyrics which spoke for themselves."
Oct 28 | Laughing Goat in Boulder with Maya Bennett
Nov 8 | Swing Station in Fort Collins with Bear & The Beasts and Sugar Britches
The Wind, It Howls is out in all stores now. Stream the EP and follow along on social media: