The title track on Moody Little Sister’s debut full-length record, Wild Places, speaks to the soul-searching journey Naomi Hooley’s been on over the last few years—leaving home in Alaska and moving thousands of miles south to Portland to pursue her music career; moving to a city where she knew no one but met producer Rob Stroup (Baseboard Heaters, The Imprints) and the two began to kindle a relationship—both musically and romantically.
Since, the pair have also been on a journey together, finding themselves and their sound, and it’s all led up to this record and a release celebration on Saturday, October 17 at The Old Church. Wild Places is 11 tracks of soulful folk and well-crafted pop recorded with producer Pete Droge that touches on themes of community, nature and the journey—both inward and outward—Moody Little Sister have traveled. And love—there’s always a love song, or at least an attempt at one.
"Here I Go,” the record’s opening track, “came out of a challenge to write a love song,” Hooley explains. Bursting with carefree energy, it’s “Moody Little Sister's most admittedly pop-sounding track,” she says. While many of the record’s other tracks are filled with her soulful, emotive vocals, “Here I Go” is joyous and honest and Hooley authentically being herself.
“I’m not sure why romantic love songs come hard for me—we write and cowrite many songs about being in love with the earth and life, but the romance factor came a lot harder,” she says. It might “sound simple in its completion, but it was one track I probably spent the most time on and found most difficult to complete lyrically. I didn't want to be cliché, and I certainly didn't want it to encourage codependent, needy relationships,” so “the result isn't much of a love song!” she laughs.
“Instead, it's a song about whether you are alone, or sharing your life with someone, life is still good and it goes on! There are still places to go and there is still life to be lived—and chocolate cakes to bake. Metaphorically, baking a cake for yourself is merit to how we are in charge of our own happiness. Love me or leave me, I'm still going to keep being myself, living my life, and go-going!”