March marked the 50th anniversary of Patsy Cline’s death, and fans in Chicago had several amazing opportunities to remember her by going to hear Natalie Jose and her Patsy Cline cover band, The Weepin’ Willows. The Weepin’ Willows recreate Cline’s heartache-filled tunes masterfully, placating long-time Patsy fans and turning Patsy novices into newfound fans immediately.
“Old people love it,” Jose says of her music, because “it takes them back like you wouldn’t believe. Young people love it because it’s in this hipster, country western thing” that is popular now.
Jose, who is the lead singer, also happens to be a stand-up comedian who has appeared on OWN, and her comic stage presence when she introduces the show warms audiences up right before the band dives effortlessly into some of the most tragic songs of all time, making the whole experience like walking through a sun shower.
“I feel like I got into Patsy kind of late,” Jose says, “but I was immediately like ‘oh my god, why haven’t been listening to this my whole life?’”Jose has always been drawn to sad music, but thinks of Cline’s songs as “pleasantly sad.” The Weepin’ Willows started four years ago, funnily enough, with a Facebook post. Jose posted: “I’ve got a bottle of Jameson, who wants to help me drink it?” A friend came over, they put on Patsy, and the rest is history. Although Jose has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard, she says she has to be in a cover band because, “I don’t write songs or play instruments.” Still, she says, “I didn’t want it to be cheesy,” which made a Patsy Cline cover band a perfect fit.
The Weepin’ Willows certainly hustle, playing gigs at Coles, The California Clipper, in the suburbs and even weddings, but their process seems to be as effortless as their music. “It’s the best,” Jose says, “there’s no creative arguing. We drink beers, play songs, and have a great time,” which is exactly what they provide for their audiences, plus, of course, dancing.
Jose laments that nobody dances anymore, and says the Weepin’ Willows have fans who come out specifically because they want to dance.
“People used to go watch bands and dance,” she says, “that was all there was to do.” Now, in the age of having everything to do, Jose hopes her band can give fans an “appreciation for a simpler time” and a chance to find “whatever we’ve lost in the modernization shuffle, the iPod shuffle.” Including a chance to appreciate musicians. “It’s a craft.”
When it comes to all the great feedback they get after every show, Jose is nothing if not ridiculously humble. “I’m not taking any credit for it,” she says, “it’s not my music, but people don’t realize they are nostalgic for it, it fills a void. No one’s playing this music anymore.”
The Weepin’ Willows also includes Jamie Gallagher on drums, Dave Gallagher on guitar, Dan Ingenthron on piano, and Ari Bolles on bass. They have an upcoming show May 31 at The California Clipper, 1002 N. California. For more information, visit weepinwillows.com.
(Photo courtesty of weepinwilllows.com)
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