The Wild Reeds, Jenny O
The Wild Reeds’ previous LPs, Blind and Brave (2014) and The World We Built (2017), and EPs, Best Wishes (2016) and New Ways To Die (2018), caught press attention from outlets including NPR Music (including a Tiny Desk Concert), Billboard, Rolling Stone Country, Noisey, and Garden & Gun, in addition to radio play from influential stations like KEXP and KCRW. And now arrives Cheers: a career highlight achieved by giving each writer considerable latitude, in the end creating a singular work out of three striking songwriting voices.
On Cheers, Lee, Howe, and Silva leaned into their differences for the first time, giving one another unprecedented amounts of freedom to execute their own songs. Each was allowed room to pursue her vision, while always leaving an open door for the other members to step in and collaborate. “We decided to explore our individuality,” says Howe. “It was a scary thing for us, because when you have three writers, you often have to do your best to tame your differences and come to some sort of agreement writing-wise, sonically, stylistically. It was the first time we said, ‘Screw that, why don’t we just record the songs the way they should be done?’”
Cheers was born out of a strange and painful time, full of tough break-ups, family deaths, and discord within the band itself. The 13 songs are snapshots from that upheaval, touching on illness, therapy, heartbreak and disconnection from three perspectives. Some of Cheers’ sunniest songs contain the darkest undercurrents, and The Wild Reeds don’t shy away from sadness or open endings. The album creates beauty out of contradictions: It finds community in individuality, tenderness in confrontation, joy in the midst of grief and pain. Threaded throughout is a deep sense of gratitude for the band itself, and the songs became a way for the members to talk to each other — an intimate language that was at times contentious, but in the end, healing. Silva explains, “When Mack first showed us the song ‘Get Better,’ I was just walking back after an argument at practice. I came back in, she played us the song, and I sat on the floor and played the guitar line that’s in the chorus…We just sat there and we played it and it was so soft and gentle, and it was exactly what I needed. I’ve always felt that way about the girls’ songs, and that’s what keeps the wheels rolling for me.”