Willow Wray

Posted on in Art + Soul by Lloyd Barde

Seeds of Love

This beautiful new CD celebrates one of the mainstays of the Bay Area’s diverse music history, Willow Wray. After over 30 years with her vocal trio NGW (Nicholas, Glover, and Wray), Willow’s debut solo album, Seeds of Love, is here, reflecting her broad vocal range and love of country, pop, rock, folk, jazz, and of course, harmonies.Willow was known as a riveting performer and singer—with NGW, and before that with Terry Garthwaite and The Joy of Cooking. Willow could rock the room with her renditions of Janis Joplin and uncanny performances of Connie Francis and Patsy Cline, and was a prolific songwriter when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in summer 2013. In early 2014, it became apparent that her treatments were not effective. So a community of musicians came together to support Willow in recording her original songs. Recording dates were set, but in March, her oncologist gave her just two weeks to live. Through dedication, love, and the rapid changing of musicians’ schedules, recording started the day after she left the hospital.

With Jeff Martin of Studio E and top-notch musicians like Nina Gerber, Jan Martinelli, Barbara Borden, and the former members of the Joy of Cooking, the 14-song Seeds of Love was created in just two weeks. The process gave Willow new vitality, and she lived a couple more months—long enough to attend the mastering session and to design the CD jacket and 28-page booklet.

The songs range from “Let Me Stay” to “Wish I Was in Love”—personal yet universal. Willow’s voice grew stronger daily, covering her ’60s rock–style songs like “Ode to the Hippie.” Inspired songs like “Way Love Goes” and “Those Times” expanded the vision of this debut collection.

Willow’s family is rich in theater and movie history. Her grandmother and namesake was known as the “Waltz Girl of Radio” in the ’30s while her great aunt Fay Wray achieved legendary status as King Kong’s fatal attraction.

Many of the album’s musicians will be performing on March 22 at 142 Throckmorton, honoring Willow’s music and her life: “A Celebration of Life and Song” with Julie Nicholas, Sheilah Glover, Terry Garthwaite, and many others. A visual tribute will be shown on the big screen, while posters, costumes, and other historical artifacts will be in the lobby for reminiscing during the reception afterward. WillowWray.com


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