Before the emergence of artists like Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom, there was no name for the innovative, spiritual, strange and musical fruit of folk troubadour Gwendolyn and her unusual acoustic band. That’s why the LA Weekly named her Best New Genre/Uncategoizable Artist of 2003 at the LA Weekly Music Awards. Today, critics have coined the phrase “freak-folk” – which will do fine to describe her until you’ve heard her yourself. The music of this California songwriter is playful, poignant yet oddly magical. Influences include The Incredible String Band, Nick Drake, Pavement, Dolly Parton, The Moore Brothers, Bob Dylan and Syd Barrett. Gwendolyn writes songs that inspire the mystery inside. Drawing from nature and a sense of spiritual responsibility, her lyrics form images that will inevitably lead you through that open-ended challenge: a search for Self.
Gwendolyn's compositions push the boundaries of expected time changes and ordinary song structure, yet a welcome familiarity remains. Addressing divergent topics that include insects, sexuality, politics and heartbreak, Gwendolyn presents life as she sees it and her listeners are presented with a surprise, and ultimately, a treasure.
In 2002, producer Ben Vaughn (Ween’s 12 Golden Country Greats, Arthur Alexander’s Lonely Just Like Me) brought Gwendolyn to Scotland to create a more traditional sounding folk EP with the local musicians there. LOWER MILL ROAD is named after the studio's whereabouts in Busby, right out outside of Glasgow. Due to the unexpectedly busy schedules of both producer and artist, the final mix of this EP was delayed - until now… Lower Mill Road celebrates its release July 2007. While running Whispersquish (her own production company/record company), performing live shows and working as a composer for film/TV (currently on Showtime’s hit comedy “Weeds”), Gwendolyn also finds time to indulge her inner-child by fronting a seven piece rock band for preschoolers called Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang.
Her debut ULTRASOUNDS (Whispersquish, 2000) features songs recorded between 1995-1999, including the acclaimed childlike anthem, "Freedom of the Heart (Ooodily, Ooodily)," heard throughout the cult film CHUCK & BUCK starring Mike White (Artisan, 2000). Shortly after its release, Gwendolyn recruited friends whose instruments naturally lend themselves to her slightly left-of-center music. Musician, Douglas Lee (Uva Ursi) returned home from living in New Orleans to build a glass harmonica - 26 different shaped wine glasses sonically tuned. Lee then added the saw, jaw harp and banjo to his repertoire. Jazz junkie Robert Petersen, returned from Berkeley to contribute his warm upright bass. Rounding out the ensemble, Brandon Jay, aka Quazar (Quazar and the Bamboozled), acquired pots, pans, water bottles, gadgets and gizmos to form what's known as his "drum set." Gwendolyn decided to capture their harmonic chemistry live in the studio. She asked veteran players Smokey Hormel (Beck) and Ralph Carney (Tom Waits) to add their talent to the mix. The result is her sophomore release DEW (Whispersquish, 2003).
Adorning her hair with ribbons and draped in unusual and colorful vintage gowns, Gwendolyn is not your average indie rocker playing local rock clubs. The LA Weekly described her performance, "like a Renaissance Fair being held on Mars". Whether she's performing solo or with her band, Gwendolyn delights in leading her audience through a musical experience they will remember and a world they'll want to revisit.