Song Stories: Wye Oak's "Watching the Waiting"

The duo Wye Oak - named after a centuries-old tree in their native Maryland - perfectly captures the spirit of independent music-making. The minimalist two-person core, the years of piecing recordings together until getting picked up by the Merge label, self-producing their 2011 album Civilian, engaging in side projects at will - this is part of the new normal for ambitious, self-starting musicians.

And we the listeners are all the better for it. When artists are free to curate and release old material, as with Wye Oak's 2016 release Tween, we get a wider, more intimate perspective on their creative palette. Without much corporate marketing or management, Jenn Wasner (guitar, vocals) and Andy Stack (drums, keyboards, vocals) have managed to amass a significant following by touring relentlessly and writing compelling songs that push through the usual indie/folk boundaries.

They also managed to catch the attention of Ken Haas, CEO of Reverend, who offered to create a signature guitar for Jenn. The model pairs a unique finish called "Optic Interruption" - designed by Baltimore artist April Camlin - with the specs of the Reverend Charger HB.

While the realm of the signature guitarist is often filled with "wankish virtuosity on display," Jenn's tasteful and emotive playing - with Wye Oak and her side projects Flock of Dimes and Dungeonesse - presents a nice counterpoint to that stereotype.

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