Nothing sets the tone for the changing of leaves and a chill in the air like soft fingerpicking melodies on an acoustic guitar. It’s full of nostalgia for what is ending, but also a calm acceptance of what is to come. The title track of Willow Robinson’s Fall EP does exactly this, setting the tone for the contrasting auras on the rest of the record with only the nonlinear ramblings of Robinson’s acoustic guitar.
“Weight of the World” taps into the sultry and cinematic with distorted guitars and a sense of apocalyptic urgency. By contrast, “Goodnight” is sonically warm, mellow, and tinged in timeless Americana and '70s rock with steel guitars, steady snaps, and melodic riffs.
The making of Robinson’s four EPs was preceded by his spontaneous move from England to Los Angeles. “I was in LA for a little bit studying music, and I met a girl,” he admits. “Same old story.” A long distance relationship ensued when Robinson returned to London. When things grew rocky, he returned to LA to visit her and mend things between them. It was there that he was introduced to Chris Llewellyn and Brian Cohen, two musicians who encapsulate the spirit of rock with rambling and adventurous eight minute jams. Robinson jammed with them and they were impressed.
“So then I was going through this whole breakup. And I was about to leave for England kind of bit heartbroken. And it was a nightmare, generally speaking,” Robinson recalls. “Then [Llewellyn and Cohen] called me up the day I was about to fly home… and said, ‘Would you like to record an album with us? And move to the desert outside of LA and just work on it until it's done.’” Just like that, he left his life in London behind, and headed to the desert to start recording that same night.
The juxtaposition of heartbreak and excitement of this time period was the perfect fodder for Robinson’s series of EPs, each centered around a different season. “I think it’s a representation of the seasons of life I suppose, and the emotions you go through throughout relationships,” he notes. A classically trained guitarist, he also drew inspiration from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, modernizing it into something more digestible for the modern ear. “I was like fuck it, Vivaldi’s been dead for a while. He can’t complain,” he laughs.
Robinson has now been making music in Los Angeles for two years. It has been an unexpected two years, from his unplanned move halfway across the world, to releasing a record in the midst of a pandemic. He certainly didn’t plan on watching the seasons change from the same window every day.
When live music is safe again, Robinson plans to donate a portion of all his future ticket sales toward planting trees. “I feel like if more artists do stuff like that, it could really make a difference,” he says. In the meantime, he will have a tree planted for every pre-save of Fall, which is over 200 trees.