WOUB Soundwaves: Wished Bone at The Union

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – Ashley Rhodus, performing as Wished Bone, delivered a haunting blend of low-fi yet lush psychedelic folk for WOUB at The Union.

Wished Bone has been releasing material since 2015’s pseudio recordings, but music has been a big part of Rhodus’ life for a lot longer.

She says a pink cassette player provided a nightly soundtrack for some of her earliest musical memories.

“I’d listen to it every night to fall asleep,” she said. “I had three tapes I’d rotate between: one classical, one with nursery rhymes, and one New Age tape from my hippie grandma called I Claim a Miracle.”

You can kind of hear this unlikely blend in her music. There’s a sense of swelling emotional capacity one could broadly associate with classical music paired with dream-like (and, maybe, nursery rhyme like) imagery often tempered with a kind of New Age atmospheric sensibility.

Those three cassette tapes are just a few among many influences. Others include freak folk progenitor and Nelsonville Music Festival regular Michael Hurley, as well as “minimal wave,” a term generally associated with low-fi electronic music from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Rhodus often finds thematic inspiration in the natural world, and especially the botanical one.

“My songwriting has always compared things that happen in nature to things people do,” Rhodus said. “Like ‘going to sleep,’ ‘opening up,’ even ‘blooming.'”

Fittingly, Rhodus is currently pursuing a degree in plant biology at Ohio University. It’s a choice which contextualizes her capacity for songwriting that draws sometimes unexpected parallels between the human experience and the rhythms of the natural world.

Wished Bone’s Soundwaves session

Rhodus sets the mood for the performance with Sap Season, the eponymous track from the 2019 release of the same name. The song gives voice to a memory: Rhodus recalls how pine trees releasing sap provided one of the few indications of changing seasons when she lived briefly in relatively seasonless Los Angeles.

Up next is High and Lonesome (pseudio recordings). Here, the percolating drone of looped keyboard riffs provides a backdrop for sparse guitar and softly humorous lyrics about the emotional difficulties of filling out “place of residence” on a government form.

Wished Bone’s set concludes with reasons, the opening track from 2018’s cellar belly. The song’s restrained and haunting qualities leave a lasting impression.

Listen to Wished Bone via bandcamp and Spotify, and find more information on Facebook