CLAIRE HEYWOOD captivated audiences with a smoky, emotive voice and thoughtful lyrics in solo shows when she began performing in 2017.
The songwriter's debut release "The Wind, It Howls" sees her frank, soulful vignettes of reckoning supported by a lively backing band.
Two years after earning her BA in English Writing, Claire Heywood began a quiet, concerted effort to explore the craft of songwriting. She 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 in Denver. Shortly after, she connected with the team from Third and James Studios at Syntax's songwriter open mic. The studio/ label agreed to support the making of Heywood's first record. A band came together: Wes Barton (drums), Duncan Britt (keys), Michael Sandoval (guitar), and Trevor Vader (bass). The group spent six months in a relaxed, creative recording process at Third and James studios.
The EP's title track "The Wind, It Howls" was written at the close of an unhealthy relationship. Though the songs are personal, Heywood pulls on the natural and mystical to balance the pain of being human. In her world, there are broken hearts-- but also winds, moons, snakebites, pine trees, dunes, wise women, canyons, and wrens. While Heywood's initial composition was softer, the full band created a soulful, sparkling landscape for her lyrics to stretch across.
"Old Soul's Motel" is the restless and aspirational story of a woman claiming responsibility for her relationships and yearning for a place to recover. "I wrote it as a device to understand that I could take responsibility for my failures, I could ask for guidance from someone who knows how to do better."
The Wind, It Howls was released with Heywood's full-band debut to an audience of 150 at Syntax Physic Opera with support from Kiltro and Sydney Clapp. The music video for "Old Soul's Motel" was featured alongside Heywood's first press interview in Westword Magazine.
303 Magazine later published an interview with Heywood, calling the record "a deeply personal — yet unequivocally relatable — account of love and loss, redemption and healing."
Heywood followed her EP release with live-recorded sets for Headroom Sessions, Downbeat Denver and Stoop Sessions. In the summer of 2019, Heywood's band played sets at Hi-Dive, the Underground Music Showcase, Ophelia's, Lost Lake Lounge and Swing Station (Fort Collins.)
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."
Heywood has played solo songwriter sets at Sofar Sounds, Broadway Roxy, Wolverine Farm, Mercury Cafe, Mutiny Now, Recreative Denver, and house shows in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Texas.