Get High with the Right Band

Widowspeak is heading to a Chicago rooftop this summer—fitting, because the band’s music is gusty and breathy, infused with melancholy and dreamy riffs. All bets are on for a seriously elevated indie rock experience at Hotel Lincoln, where Molly Hamilton’s voice could lull for miles.

Thirteen floors up toward the clouds, the landscape of Lincoln Park unrolling beneath, this gig at J. Parker (in Hotel Lincoln) will be the most unusual stop on the band’s All Yours summer tour (the new album is out September 4). In addition to the planned stops, Widowspeak has linked up with the Good Measure Tour, an indie romp-around happening late summer through early fall. It brings musicians who are about to hit it big into intimate spaces.

Because Widowspeak themselves have clocked some serious summer mileage on the road, and Joyride is all about, well, joyrides, we tapped singer/songwriter Molly Hamilton for highlights. She, along with Rob Earl Thomas, are the core members of Widowspeak. Have a listen to one of the tunes off All Yours here.

What’s your vehicle for joyriding across state borders?

Molly Hamilton: In the past, we’ve taken our Chevy Tahoe with a trailer. This summer, we drove our drummer’s van. Although we are sometimes a duo (Rob and I), when we tour, there are four of us: me, Rob, Willy Muse (bass), and James Jano (drums).

on tour ws
How do you stay sane on boring stretches?

MH: This time, we listened to a lot of comedy podcasts. It kept things pretty fun.

On Facebook, there are a couple photos of you guys jumping in rivers. Do you have a favorite swimming hole?

MH: We love to swim on tour. We make a point of scheduling swim stops, especially if friends or other bands recommend them. Or, sometimes, it’s random. My favorite was swimming in the James River outside of Richmond, Virginia. There are flat rocks you can sit on or jump off of, and the river was like bathwater.


Favorite pit stops?

MH: We stopped in Zion National Park on the last tour. That was amazing. I also really love New Mexico. The Southwest, and the desert in general, is probably my favorite type of landscape.

Is there a certain place, venue, or even a natural amphitheater that you would love to play?

MH: In a world where we somehow have enough fans to fill it, I would love to play The Gorge in George, Washington (near the Columbia River). I went to festivals there when I was younger, and it’s just so beautiful and affecting.

For pure inspiration in a landscape, though, we’ve heard about a cottage in Upstate New York…?

MH: The house we’ve been renting is definitely the most inspiring place I’ve lived. It has such a great energy, and a lot of different spaces within it to get different perspectives. We have neighbors, but they aren’t too close. The backyard feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere, and that sense of solitude is really great for writing.

new mexico ws

For the Good Measure Tour, there seems to be a Wicked Game fetish (see Day Wave’s playlist), so we have to ask: Why did you decide to cover Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game?

MH: I was watching Wild at Heart alone in my apartment five years ago on Thanksgiving, and I was feeling kind of lonely. The scene with that song came on. Something about the sadness and the creepiness of the instrumentation really resonated with me. I had kind of written that song off as dated. It’d been such a huge hit and was everywhere at that time. But once I saw all that Lynchian imagery alongside Isaak’s lyrics, the song was completely new to me. Originally, I thought of it as a saccharine love song, but it’s not. It’s actually quite sad, and even dark. It’s amazing how visuals can do that.

driving widowspeak
Widowspeak will be playing at Hotel Lincoln on August 25. Be quick. There are a limited number of tickets to snag.