Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, The Wildwoods, composed of Noah Gose and Chloe (Pinkman) Gose, have been playing music for a solid decade. Over time, they grew in popularity within their local area and beyond. The duo continues to develop and evolve their sound and songwriting, which has been referred to as “focused and charmingly human” by Paste Magazine.
The pair draws inspiration for their music from nature, love, and their shared experience of growing up in Nebraska. Since their rise on the scene, they have been accruing devoted listeners from live performances, as they’ve opened for acts such as Elephant Revival, The Hunts, The Accidentals, and more.
“Thirteen Sailboats” is the duo’s first single of the year, as their previous one, “Like My Old Man,” released in 2021. The single is accompanied by an endearing music video as well.
We were able to ask them some questions about the new single, their journey thus far, and what’s on the horizon.
So how did you two meet, and how did you decide to start making music together?
Chloe and I met through mutual friends in 2012 when we were just fourteen years old. After learning that Chloe was a fantastic violin player, we immediately began learning and writing songs together. It felt so natural and exciting at the time to find someone as passionate as I was, and we created an unbreakable bond through music that continues to last.
What’s the music scene like in Lincoln, Nebraska? How might you try to sell someone on it?
Lincoln, Nebraska, has a small but fantastic music scene. It feels like everyone knows each other, and it is a very warm and welcoming community. You can find local artists of almost any genre performing around the city on any given night. Folk, funk, jazz, hip-hop, country, whatever it might be, chances are you’ll find it in Lincoln. It’s very humbling to leave Lincoln to tour when some nights we might only play for 10-20 people while in Lincoln, everyone comes out to a show. It’s a magical place and we’re honored to be able to call it our home.
So you have your new single, “Thirteen Sailboats,” out now. What’s the backstory and influence behind it?
After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May of 2021, Chloe and I decided to really try and make something of our music. Although we’ve been performing and touring regionally as The Wildwoods since 2012, there had always been other distractions in the way such as school and work that took up most of our time.
We took off on our first national tour in May of 2021 and about a month in, we had a few days off in Tybee Island, GA. After playing a show in Savannah, GA, a friend of ours reached out and told us to go stay with her parents in Tybee Island on our days off, and we jump at any opportunity to get away from our van for a day or two. The people we stayed with were incredibly welcoming, and we found their home to be a very inspiring place to work on some new music. At the time, I had been struggling with the thought that perhaps Chloe and I aren’t making the best decision by going after our music, full-time. It was difficult for me to see all of my friends and colleagues find financially secure careers upon graduation and here I was, driving around the country in a van, barely making ends meet, playing shows to maybe ten to twenty people night after night.
One morning after watching the sunrise on the beach, (a rare opportunity since we live in Nebraska) I composed a poem where I imagined myself as a sailor, pondering all of his life choices and wondering what he could’ve been had he taken other paths and opportunities. Being cursed by the “what if”, the sailor admires the fictitious character, ‘Virginia’, who represents all those who have found greater success, and lead seemingly happier lives than he. The sailor realizes that although her existence appears to be perfect from the outside, Virginia has struggles and tribulations within her own life.
The chorus then takes the form of the sailor speaking to his younger self. He realizes how carefree, ambitious, and joyful he used to be. Longing to return to the way he used to be, the sailor can still see a slight glimpse of those qualities still existing within his current self. After completing the poem, I brought it to Chloe and we worked together to compose music that captured the essence of the emotions I tried to relay within the poem.
Can fans expect it to be on an upcoming EP or LP?
Absolutely. We’ve almost completed the recording for our next LP, and are hoping to share it with the world later in the summer. We haven’t released music in a little over a year, and we’re just excited to be releasing something that we’re extremely proud of, which is why we’ve decided to release ‘Thirteen Sailboats’ as a single before the release of the album.
How does the songwriting process work between the two of you?
Typically, I’ll compose lyrics and music and bring the semi-complete song to Chloe. From there, we’ll rearrange sections until we’ve both come to an agreement that the song is complete.
How do your Nebraska roots play a role in your sound?
Although Nebraska does have a few small cities, most of the state is filled with small rural towns, farmland, and state parks. It’s been a great place to learn how to be inspired by nature. When I’m in a rut and am having trouble coming up with either musical ideas or lyrics, I can drive ten minutes in any direction and before I know it, I’ll be driving completely alone on a gravel road, surrounded by nothing but the beauty that this state has to offer.
When it comes to our sound, we like to create music that sounds very natural and in a way, simple. Music that feels like driving alone on a gravel road, music that feels like sunshine hitting your face, music that feels like the warmth of a small town diner, music that feels like rain striking your shoulders while wandering through a garden. Nebraska is a place where people are kind to others and build great friendships with their neighbors. We’ve grown up in a place where personal connection is such an important aspect of living and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with our music.
I see you’ve performed and toured all across the country. What’s been one of your most memorable shows, and what cities or venues were some of your favorite?
We’ve had a lot of memorable shows while touring and have met so many incredible people and bands so it’s hard to choose just a few. The Sewee Outpost Barn Jam at the Awendaw Green in Awendaw, SC is an incredible event that’s been happening every Wednesday for years. They have at least a hundred regulars that attend every week and every person we’ve encountered, either another artist or someone just attending the event, has been wonderfully kind.
Mad Katz in Wilmington, NC, The Southgate House in Newport, KY, The Sound Wall in Opelika, AL, and the Soundpost Sessions in Longmont, CO are other venues that come to mind where we felt like we were playing a show at home. Like I said, it’s hard to choose a few because I feel like almost everywhere we perform, there are people that are warm and welcoming. We’ve really enjoyed touring through the Southern states throughout the past year. Some of our favorite places have been Savannah, GA, Richmond, VA, Charleston, SC, and Asheville, NC.
What does a dream gig look like for the two of you?
Typically at our out of state shows, there’s usually two or three people that have heard our music prior to the show. Honestly, our dream gigs would just be to perform shows where the majority of the audience knows our music. Being able to connect with people through our music at a larger scale is a major dream of ours and hopefully someday we can make that happen.
What’s your ultimate goal as a musical group/songwriters?
Like I said, being able to connect with people through our music at a larger scale is a huge goal of ours. Sure, fifty thousand followers on Instagram or a million streams on Spotify would be nice, but we’re much more interested in the actual human connections that we’ve been able to create through our performances and we really want to keep growing that.
What else might fans expect from The Wildwoods as we trudge through 2022?
As we continue putting the final touches on our newest album, people can expect that to be released later this year. We don’t have an exact release date but we’re hoping for some time later in the summer. We will be touring throughout the rest of the year and will mainly be focusing on states that are east of Nebraska. We put all of our events on our website so check it out to see if we’re coming to a city near you!
Photo by Emma Petersen Photography