Anyone who needs evidence of that need only turn to Kasey Buckley and Amanda Watkins, know collectively as Miss Willie Brown, who are currently on their first major tour—in support of Dierks Bentley—behind their just-released EP. Listening to the lush harmonies and elegant arrangements of their country songs one can be forgiven for thinking the duo was born into music.
“People tell us ‘Wow, Nashville is treating you guys good,’” said Buckley just before the two left on their current tour. “‘You look so much better. How do you have so much energy?’ It’s because I don’t have to serve ribs today!’”
Texas native Buckley met Watkins, who hails from West Virginia, when the two took jobs as waitresses in Los Angeles. Although they both admit to being bone weary as they worked to support themselves while trying to break into their careers, they found their way to each other as friends and then as co-writers of country songs.
“It just literally wasn’t a decision. It is just what happened. We gravitated naturally toward country,” said Buckley. “It wasn’t like ‘We should start a rock band.’ We started writing songs…and it just came naturally to us.”
Their friendship also formed in much the same way.
“That was not a coincidence but something that is beyond us,” she said of the happenstance meeting. “Our relationship is proof there is a God…We were brought together for a reason.”
Fans would likely say that reason is pure country music, as evidenced by the songs on their recently released self-titled EP. The four songs on the EP, produced by Keith Stegall (Zac Brown Band, Alan Jackson, George Strait), has plenty of contemporary funk but is filled with a down-home passion that puts one in mind of queens of country including Loretta Lynn and Reba McEntire. The duo share writing credits on each song and take turns on lead vocals.
Although the two each enjoyed music through their lives, neither set of parents were musicians or in the music business. The parents of both women did encourage them to pursue their professional dreams.
For Watkins, who grew up listening to Waylon Jennings, Bob Seger and other greats, and began singing in church, the goal was always music. Although Buckley, a fan of soul and hip hop, saw herself as an actor and dancer, meeting Watkins about three and a half years ago switched her pursuits to music.
Although happenstance brought the two together and jumpstarted their careers, both insist that they carefully tend their music.
“We feel like our music is much further along than acts that have been doing this as long as we have,” said Buckley. “From day one, we’ve been very, very, very particular about how our show came together, the musicians we use, our set list,” she said. “We are still extremely anal retentive because we want to do the best job we can to entertain the crowds as much as possible.”
Think the two will soon forget their hometown roots. Not a chance. As they prepared for their first “bus call”—getting on the bus and taking off on tour— Watkins’ parents Mardee and Roger Watkins, were there to wave them off.
“My parents are always so supportive,” said Watkins. “That the reason I am here. I told them ‘I don’t want to go to college. I want to sing.’ They gave me the chance to flourish at something I love.”
Miss Willie Brown is currently working on their debut album and touring with Dierks Bentley. For more information and news, check their Web site.