Rosie Jones grew up in Devon and Zoe Nicol in Kent, the two meeting as music students at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, brought together for an open mic session by their teachers. This led to a songwriting and close harmony singing partnership as the Worry Dolls, a move to London and support slots with Joan Armatrading, Tim O’Brien and Cara Dillon. It’s now taken then to Nashville to record Go Get Gone, their debut album of all new material under the guiding hand of veteran producer Neilson Hubbard and with backing from such session luminaries as dobro and pedal steel master Kenny Hutson and fiddler Eamon McLoughlin. Also, they collaborated on new material with the likes of Jeff Cohen, Joe Doyle and Ben Glover.
As you might have surmised from the credits, the duo perform Americana, a cocktail of old school country, blues and Appalachian flavours, the album opening with the simple, gently strummed Cohen co-write Endless Road, Nicol providing the banjo here and throughout while Jones handles rhythm guitar.
It’s an enticing first introduction, and they build confidently, sliding from rhythm chugging ‘now or never’ Doyle co-write Train’s Leaving to the lovely old time waltzing Miss You Already with its echoes of such honky tonk legends as Kitty Wells and Connie Smith. Shifting style, featuring Nicol’s sparse banjo and McLoughin’s fiddle Don’t Waste Your Heart On Me is spooked bluesy mountain music. Those Appalachian blues influences can also be heard on the percussively itchy Light oh Light, their fiddle-adorned collaboration with Glover, the swampy subtle gospel undertones of Bless Your Heart and, again featuring banjo and fiddle, the jazzier vibe of Passport.
Elsewhere, the reflective She Don’t Live Here is in classic singer-songwriter piano ballad mould, while Jones whips out harmonica for the slow waltzing wearied but determined Things Always Work Out as she sings (“I have lost friends and lovers …to get here, I put it all on the line, and I’ve gambled my life just hoping. Surely it’s my turn?”
It ends with Someday Soon, not the Ian Tyson number, but their co-write with transplanted London folk and soul rising star James Riley, a near five-minute tonal and tempo shifting gradually building ballad that shows their folksier roots. This is going to cement the reputation of the Worry Dolls here in the UK and introduce them to America in a big way, no worries. Go, get.