Singled Out: Worry Dolls' Bless Your Heart

Worry Dolls

Indie folk duo Worry Dolls are preparing to release their debut album, "Go Get Gone" on January 27th and to celebrate we asked them to tell us about the first single "Bless Your Heart". Here is the story:

In April 2015, we flew to Nashville with the intention of immersing ourselves in the music and songwriting that was inspiring us so much. We booked some co-writes and some coffee dates with a few songwriters, artists and industry folk. A combination of personal recommendations and months & months of Googling lead to us having a back-to-back itinerary, and we wrote 8 songs on that 10-day trip, 5 of which ended up on the album.

For the first couple of days we decided to be tourists. We hit up the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Johnny Cash Museum, The Ryman Auditorium, RCA Studio B (Where Elvis, Dolly & pretty much everyone made career-defining records). We stood on the spot where Elvis stood, still marked by a taped cross on the floor, we queued up at The Bluebird Café to play their open mic, we went to a bluegrass jam at The Station Inn and took in a show at The Grand Ole Opry. We did it all and we loved it. One of our many tour guides was teaching us about the southern vernacular, and one of the phrases he taught us was "bless your heart". He said "You can be as mean as you like about someone, as long as you follow it up with 'bless your heart'". It got written down, amongst many other musings and ideas, and the next day we woke up knowing we had to turn it into a song.

We had our very first co-write with another duo based in East Nashville. The east, as often is the case, is the more trendy side of town. If downtown Nashville is home to the tourist trade and billion-dollar country music industry, East Nashville is more of a home to the misfits; the hipsters; those that don't fit perfectly into a box. It's full of vegan cafés and dive bars and we immediately felt right at home. Our write was with Wild Ponies, who we found on YouTube and emailed just saying hey… wanna write a song? Surprisingly they said yes, and the next thing we knew we were sat in a deli eating pimento cheese and tofu, or some bizarre American combination that was actually really tasty. We got to know Doug and Telisha Williams (AKA. Wild Ponies) before heading to their houses which, by the way, was completely adorable. It had a front yard and a porch and a living room full of records, instruments and whiskey bottles (D&T love whiskey so much that they do "trail rides" which entails going to a distillery, drinking bourbon and jamming with them for two days - amazing).

The idea we had for Bless Your Heart was about a guy. Every girl will know him - he's dark and mysterious and that is exciting at first because you never know what he's thinking and what he might say or do. But that quickly turns into him being frustratingly impossible to read and even more impossible to pin down. He plays on his darkness so much that he's incapable of actually being happy. The song is warning his new girlfriend that he may not be as perfect as he seems. It's totally tongue-in cheek, with the line "girl, he's your problem now, good luck with that" - but that's exactly what the phrase "bless your heart" means to us - a way of softening the the blow of a harsh truth!

We went back to Nashville in September 2015 to finish what we started, this time for 3 months. Living like locals, we ate a lot of home-cooked meals and pretty much wrote in the morning and then again in the afternoon. We headed into the studio with producer Neilson Hubbard, who was recommended to us through Wild Ponies (and a couple others) who turned out to be the perfect producer for us. He was very conscious of protecting our sound, our Englishness and our identity as a duo, whilst helping us to build the songs, weaving in pedal steel and fiddle and all the instruments we loved so much. We were lucky enough to have Doug & Telisha play electric guitar and upright bass on the whole album, but it was especially great having them play on Bless Your Heart. We'd come full circle.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself here and learn more about the album right here!


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