The Willow Tree band interview

Artist Spotlight: The Willow Tree

The Northeast Ohio-based indie act is making waves, and here's how they came to be.


Answering the phone with a quick hello, the bubbly duo of Ashley Blasko and Missy Long quickly ease their way into a 20-minute conversation about their indie rock act the Willow Tree.

The group formed a handful of years ago with Long and another person. About a year into the band's formation, Long met Blasko through church, and the pair hasn't looked back since.

After their fateful meeting in the church, the two didn't actually start playing music together until a little while later. According to Blasko, the first time the two sang together was in the church bathroom's shower pods while on a mission trip.

"I was humming to myself in the most makeshift little shower thing you've ever seen, and I hear in the one next to me a harmonizing hum. I'm like 'wow,' and then we started singing," Blasko said. "[After that,] she [Long] was like 'oh, that was you singing in there,' and I was like 'yeah, that was you singing in there too,' and then we actually played a song from the talent show on that mission trip and the rest just went from there."

After that initial performance, where Long noticed that Blasko was not only musically talented but that the two meshed really well, the pair soon began working on the Willow Tree as a newly put together duo.

Now a group for roughly six years, the two have been sure to keep the band something that blends their own style. Between the music they take inspiration from to the actual name of the band itself, both Blasko and Long have made sure that the band is an accurate representation of each of them.

The name, that Long came up with right from the start, was inspired by a science fiction, sort of "Beauty And The Beast"-inspired short story by Ursula Wills-Jones called "The Wicker Husband."

The book follows a magical sorcerer who makes a husband for a woman that isn't well-liked in her village. Creating the husband out of the bark of a willow tree, the town's people start to notice that the husband has caused the woman to become more beautiful and confident.

Wondering why he treats her so kind, the sorcerer explains that the reason for the husband's kindness is because he made him out of the bark of a willow tree, which is "the kindest and pliable tree," known to man. Finding the idea of this whimsical tale interesting, Long decided to name the band after the story.

"I thought it was an interesting concept and I feel like it was well rooted with us as far as a band," Long said. "As people, we just want to be kind to others, and through being friends with Ashley for so long, I know we've always tried to get along with each other and the people we meet. But I also feel like we're very strong individuals, like the willow tree being strong and pliable, and that's kind of who we are as people and I thought the message [from the story] was cool [and fit our band.]"

As for music, the band draws inspiration from a variety of artists. Playing mostly acoustic guitar and fiddle, Blasko shares that their sound can be a hodgepodge of a bunch of genres all in one.

Due to the fiddle, there's a county folk sound, yet they still keep a cool and earthy tone to their tracks. Drawing inspiration from the likes of First Aid Kit, Jack White, and Bob Dylan, the two keeps their tone in an indie/acoustic sound with a natural vibe.

"Ashley introduced me to this group, First Aid Kit, a while back, and they are sisters from Sweden and I guess if our sound is any reflection, I think they would be the closest one because they have that vintage, alternative folk [sound.]"

Blasko then added:

"The first time I heard of them, I was Youtube-ing a Fleet Foxes and then I came across one of their covers," Blasko said. "They're really an inspiration to us."

Of course, books and music aren't the only things that the Willow Tree has found inspiration from. Having a hometown pride, the duo also pulls inspiration from fellow Cleveland-based bands.

"There's so many different genres coming out of Cleveland right now. I feel like it went through this phase where it was just pop-punk bands, but now we have rock coming out." Blasko said. "Some of the local bands really influenced me and I'm really happy to see more and more [genres] coming out of Cleveland."

Long also added:

"There's so much talent in this area that needs to be brought forth, no matter what genre it is." Long said. "Whenever we play shows, we aren't really particular with who we play with – I mean, we've played shows with heavy metal bands – and I think it's good because we get to see what else is out there and understand that there's other fan bases and interests and talent that needs to be brought forward, and Cleveland is a great place for that.

So, what's next for the Willow Tree?

As of right now, the band hasn't officially released any EPs or albums, but they are looking to change that. After they finish up the concerts they have scheduled for this summer, they want to go into the studio to officially put some of their original tracks on an album.

"We recorded a few years ago, but those are sort of like our rough drafts. That's our next goal, we've gotten together a lot more of our originals that we want to come out with more," Long said. "We were talking about maybe recording things on our own because we have a particular ear on how we want things to sound and sometimes when we go into recording studios they don't always understand that so we're going to try to branch out and do our own thing."

Until then, the band is hard at work doing a set of summer shows. At the time this article is published, the duo will have performed at Love Fest, a free festival raising money for charities around the Cleveland area that featured 18 local artists.

As for shows that are coming up, the two will be making a home for themselves on stage at Lakewood's vintage bowling alley-slash-concert venue Mahall's. On July 25, the band will be supporting He Is We and then on August 18, they will be playing at Joe Joyce's album release show.

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10 Rappers Whose Lyrics Will Take Your Instagram Captions To The Next Level

Make your life easy by choosing a caption that's already been written for you.


Finding the perfect caption for you Instagram post is something everyone struggles with. On the contrary, the best rappers in the industry right now seem to have no problem with it. Whether it be Cardi B or Kanye West, you can always count on fire captions. Taken from the rappers themselves, here are the best rap lyrics for Instagram captions.

1. Travis Scott

Travis Scott album cover

  • "It's summertime, why they tryna throw shade?"
  • "Rollin' rollin' rollin' got me stargazin'"
  • "I got 'em stage diving out the nosebleeds"
  • "Anything can happen at the night show"
  • "This right here is astronomical"
  • "Valet park when I pull up in the ride"
  • "Pick up the phone, baby, I know you're home, baby"
  • "Oh my, what a wonderful time"
  • "She said 'where we goin?' I said 'the moon'"
  • "I been up sleepless late nights"
  • 2. Migos

    Migos II

    • "Walk it like I talk it"
    • "In the kitchen wrist moving like a stir fry"
    • "Put my mind on it, put my grind on it"
    • "We live like sopranos"
    • "Diamonds on my wrist stay drippin"
    • "Addin' up checks, no minus"
    • "I can buy that car, I know that you can't"
    • "No human being, I'm immortal"
    • "Walk in the buildin', they start applaudin'"
    • "Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace"

    3. Cardi B

    Cardi B be careful

    • "I like texts from my exes when they want a second chance"
    • "I went from dollar bills, now poppin' rubber bands"
    • "Why would I hop in some beef? When I could just hop in the Porsche"
    • "You know where I'm at, you know where I be"
    • "These expensive, these is red bottoms"
    • "I don't dance now, I make money moves"
    • "It's not a threat it's a warning, be careful with me"
    • "Poured out my whole heart to a piece of sh*t"
    • "Karma for you is gon' be who you end up with"

    4. Drake


    • "This a Rollie, not a stopwatch, sh*t don't ever stop"
    • "I only love my bed and my mama I'm sorry"
    • "I get it how I live it, I live it how I get it"
    • "No new friends"
    • "Drinking every night because we drink to my accomplishments"
    • "This sh*t got me in my feelings"
    • "With your phone out, gotta hit them angles"
    • "My ex asked me, 'Where you movin'?' I said, 'On to better things'"
    • "My team good, we don't really need a mascot"
    • "Got new money, got new problems, got new enemies"

    5. Nicki Minaj

    Nicki Minaj

    • "Imma keep it moving, be classy and graceful"
    • "In my kingdom, with my Timbs on"
    • "Uh, yo, watch your man, then you should watch your mouth"
    • "At least you took an L off your bucket list"
    • "Defend my honor, protect my pride"
    • "But to live doesn't mean you're alive"
    • "She just mad 'cause he never bought her ice like me"
    • "I fly with the stars in the skies"
    • "They paintin' me out to be the bad guy"
    • "All these b*tches is my sons"

    6. Mac Miller

    Mac Miller

    • "My regrets look just like a text I shouldn't send"
    • "Driving with my eyes close, missing all the signs"
    • "I'm a monster with the heart of a lion, divide and conquer"
    • "I got a bone to pick like roses"
    • "I'll do anything for a way out of my head"
    • "Your love is not too kind to me"
    • "Yeah, I got a bad attitude"
    • "No matter where life takes me, find me with a smile"
    • "Imma give you what you came for"
    • "I don't know 'bout you, but me, I'm important, I'm so gorgeous"

    7. A$AP Rocky 

    A$AP Rocky

    • "Same shit, different day"
    • "I got three phones: business, conversation, and relation"
    • "What the face say to the fist?"
    • "I look for ways to say 'I love you', but I ain't into makin' love songs"
    • "Paranoia got me losing all my z's"
    • "Make no mistakes, it's all a leap of faith for love"
    • "She ain't a stranger to the city life"
    • "Can't forget that I'm golden, can't forget where I'm going"
    • "Riding by the rules, I'll abide by it soon"
    • "Ain't a killer so don't kill the vibe"

    8. Kanye West

    Kanye West

    • "Yeah u so mother thick"
    • "Ball so hard, let's get faded"
    • "That sh*t cray"
    • "I'm tripping off the power"
    • "All of my kindness, is taken for weakness"
    • "I'm lookin' for the one have you seen her?"
    • "Don't let me get in my zone"
    • "Let's get lost tonight"
    • "Sun don't shine in the shade, bird can't fly in a cage"
    • "Reach for the stars so if you fall you land on a cloud"
    • "No you're not perfect but you're not your mistakes"

    9. A$AP Ferg

    A$AP Ferg

    • "Gucci down to the socks"
    • "My jewelry glistening why I'm always chilly"
    • "I'm a one night savage"
    • "Put in work, put 'em in the dirt"
    • "Fergy be mobbin' all day"
    • "Ferg is the name"
    • "I'm on a new level"
    • "Don't pray for me pray for the weak"
    • "I was only 8 years old, watching Nick at Nite"
    • "I was fly like a bird"

    10. Lil Wayne 

    Lil Wayne

    • "Real G's move in silence like lasagna"
    • "I speak the truth but I guess that's a foreign language to y'all"
    • "Okay you're a goon, but what's a goon to a goblin?"
    • "I got some weight on my shoulders, to me it's like feathers"
    • "I am more animal than the zoo allow"
    • "Money talks, bullsh*t walks"
    • "Every night's a long night, every day's a holiday"
    • "I'm a cool cat, but I'm on life nine"
    • "Haters can't see me, nose bleed seats"

    No matter what the occasion, it's always good to have creative Instagram captions on hand. Nobody knows how to make clever captions than rappers themselves. Whether you need creative caption for throwing shade at someone, or you have used only emojis for your past 5 Instagram pictures, rap lyrics make the perfect caption.

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    I'm The Girl Who Listened To Lana Del Rey For Five Months Straight

    “Diet Mountain Dew, baby New York City...”


    I've been listening to Lana Del Rey since 2012. Most people believe Summertime Sadness was her first song ever, but it wasn't. Truth is, Lana Del Rey's real name is Elizabeth (Lizzy) Grant. She started recording music in 2005. Her debut album was similar to her first international-released album. It was clear through her music, however, that she had had a strange life while living in New York City.

    Lana Del Rey has been called many names, including very negative names. People have accused her of being a terrible singer and songwriter, but over the years, Del Rey has really grown and become a successful woman in the music industry.

    I once only listened to her music for five months straight. The melancholy tones and sultriness in her voice have made me feel more confident and free. I've listened to her for many reasons.

    If I'm depressed or lonely, I'll listen to Pretty When You Cry. When I'm angry, I'll listen to Diet Mountain Dew. When I'm feeling on top of the world, I listen to Ride. When I'm happy to be in love, I listen to Lucky Ones. When I'm feeling sexy, I'll listen to Freak.

    There's literally a song for every emotion, but most believe her music is too sad, my husband included.

    I've always been a very emotional person, anyone who knows me would agree that I can be melodramatic, but I don't think that's a bad thing. I believe it's important to show your emotions, whether you're happy or depressed or angry. That's why I listen to Lana Del Rey and support her and her music. She's a talented woman; her voice is unlike any other I've ever heard, and her lyrics are powerful, sensual, and intense.

    At a young age, Del Rey dealt with alcoholism and says a lot of the inspiration for her album "Born to Die" came from that moment in her life. She struggled with alcohol, as it was something she believed was cool and dangerous to do as a teenager. It turned into more than just a casual swig or getting drunk on a Friday night. She began to overdo it and she and her parents were worried it would be her undoing. She ultimately overcame her alcoholism and has been sober since 2004.

    Lana Del Rey, when she was Lizzy Grant, lived in Long Island with her aunt and uncle after high school. She decided to become a waitress instead of going to a prestigious college. Then she moved to Brooklyn where she began to perform in clubs for other performers. She felt it was more for fun than anything else, but it wasn't a plan to get into the music business at the time.

    While living in Brooklyn, she decided to study Philosophy and focus on metaphysics at age 19. During this time, she found people like herself.

    After volunteering on a Native American reservation, she knew she wanted to make a decision. She learned to play the guitar during this time and realized she had this deep desire to "write a million songs using these six chords." This is where it began for her and she ultimately released a music video called Video Games in 2011 and it launched her career.

    Lana Del Rey has just finished her sixth album, titled "Norman F*****g Rockwell" and it's said to be released later this year. I'm excited to hear more from her because I feel like I've often felt alone and trapped, but her music has given me a reason to believe I can be free. She's released three singles from her new album and they've become popular very quickly. "Mariner's Apartment Complex," "Venice Bitch," and "Hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have" have given the fans a taste of what the music in her next will be and we're anticipating the new release.

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