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Studio Session: Golf Widow releases his fourth album, 'Weil'

Golf Widow's Weil.
Will Bryant
Golf Widow's Weil.

This week on Kaleidoscope, WYSO Music Director Juliet Fromholt hosted a live studio session with Will Bryant, who released a new studio album, Weil, on Feb. 16, 2024. Bryant, who performs under the name Golf Widow, spoke with Juliet about his musical background, including his time as a student at Stivers School for the Arts. Today, he teaches creative writing and songwriting at the school. Bryant discussed returning to Stivers as an instructor, and performed five songs from Weil live on air.

Bryant began his WYSO appearance with an acoustic rendition of “Notice to Vacate,” the lead single from Weil. While the singer exuded confidence, he says playing for a live audience didn’t come easily to him. Bryant started writing songs after picking up guitar in early high school. Unlike many of his musician peers at Stivers, a magnet performing arts school in Dayton, Bryant studied creative writing. Yet during student talent showcases, he was required to perform his writing alongside theater and music students for parents and community members—an exercise that sometimes felt awkward. “As long as I've been around Stivers, there's been the expectation that the creative writers are going to perform; it's a performing arts school,” he told Juliet, “It's kind of a tricky thing, because we think about writing being on the page.”

To escape the discomfort of performing spoken-word, Bryant decided to put his writing to music. He vividly recalled the experience of performing on guitar for the first time for Stivers instructor (and Dayton music mainstay) Sharon Lane:

“The first time that I took the guitar in front of people was for a 10th grade showcase, maybe 11th. I had written a song with really goofy lyrics—no real message, but fun. And I wanted to show it off, but I was so nervous.... Miss Sharon Lane was an instructor at the time. I played the song and she said, ‘Well, that was great. But I could only hear your guitar, none of your singing.’ I was so nervous that I wasn't singing loudly at all, just kind of muttering it to myself. And I was very embarrassed. I was more embarrassed by that, actually, than I would have been by singing and people not liking it or messing up. So I played the song during that show and I think it went well.”

Since performing at the student showcase Bryant has been prolific, releasing three full-length albums and two EPs between 2018 to 2023. Recently he also returned to Stivers as an adjunct instructor in songwriting and creative writing. He said teaching writing to others has also led him to reflect on his own process.

“I realized that it's very hard, at least for me, to teach people to start with lyrics and treat the written word as something musical, and then to make music from it—at least if they don't want to do it, which is an experience for some of the students and also for myself. That's just not how I do it. I start just by playing around with the recording software, playing around with my guitar, layering stuff then saying, ‘what words can I put on top of this?’” Bryant says he is still most comfortable playing music in his home studio. “When I'm thinking about music, I'm thinking about me huddled in front of my laptop recording and then writing down stuff in a notebook,” he said “It all kind of exists there in my bedroom.”

Golf Widow’s Weil is available on major streaming platforms. Information and updates about Will Bryant's music are available on Instagram.

Text by Peter Day, adapted from a live studio session recorded by Juliet Fromholt on February 14, 2024.

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Juliet Fromholt is proud to be music director at 91.3FM WYSO. Juliet began volunteering at WYSO while working at WWSU, the student station at her alma mater, Wright State University. After joining WYSO's staff in 2009, Juliet developed WYSO’s digital and social media strategy until moving into the music director role in 2021. An avid music fan and former record store employee, Juliet continues to host her two music shows, Alpha Rhythms and Kaleidoscope, which features studio performances from local musicians every week. She also co-hosts Attack of the Final Girls, a horror film review podcast.
Peter Day writes and produces stories for WYSO’s music department. His works include a feature about Dayton's premiere Silent Disco and a profile of British rapper Little Simz. He also assists with station operations and serves as fill-in host for Behind the Groove. Peter began interning at WYSO in 2019 and, in his spare time while earning his anthropology degree, he served as program director for Yale University’s student radio station, WYBC.