The Ormewoods
Gig Seeker Pro

The Ormewoods

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | SELF

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2016
Duo Americana Folk




"The Ormewoods - Hey Babe, August 21, 2017"

The Ormewoods – ‘Hey Babe’
August 21, 2017
Bryon William
Hailing from Atlanta, The OrmeWoods are a folk rock group you will not want to miss out on. After almost 15 years of separate careers, Don McCollister and Claire Pearson joined forces and formed The Ormewoods. Combining their talents, Don being a two-time Grammy winning audio engineer and Claire being an indie radio hit, the duo has created a sound that fans are raging over. Their tune “Hey Babe” off of their album 'The Bedroom Sessions' is a stand-out display of their talent.

The song begins with some engaging hand percussion to count us in. The percussion is then joined by the soft strumming of acoustic guitar leading into the first vocal section of the song. Claire enters singing, “Hey babe/I think I love you/but it's probably too soon to say,” displaying a crystal clear vocal mix that showcases her immaculate tone quality that is sure to have fans swooning. After the hook, the song progresses into the first verse.

“Hey Babe” is a song about the relationship between Don and Claire and how they circled back to each other after exploring their own paths. At the start of the first verse Claire sings, “I don’t have a ball or chain/I can’t be tied up again /but you can have a secret piece of me/(one that no ones seen),” giving us an intimate and emotional page from their storybook. Leading into the next hook Claire is accompanied by Don; together they create lush harmonies that fans will love.

The Ormewoods take two powerhouse musicians and brings them together for an insatiable sound that anybody can get hooked on. Their song “Hey Babe” is just one sweet example of their infectious tunes. Fans can get a free music download by following their newsletter on their website, or their music is available for purchase via iTunes. or visit their website. - Indie Spoonful

"Grammy-winners The Ormewoods Release The Bedroom Sessions"

RATING: 9 / 10

Genre: Americana
Songwriting: 9 | Music: 9 | Vocals: 9
Location: Atlanta, GA
For Fans Of: Sugarland, The Civil Wars
Released: September 2016

Atlanta-based Americana duo The Ormewoods are set to release their new 10 song LP, The Bedroom Sessions, . Together, Claire Pearson and Don McCollister have garnered a number of highly respected accolades, including two Grammy awards (Don), and nominations for Best Folk Song of 2016 by the American Songwriting Awards and runner up for Best Folk Song 2016 by Song of the Year Songwriting Competition. So, it’s no surprise that their new album is an incredible compilation of great songs that could lead to more major awards for The Ormewoods.

LYRICALLY: The songwriting on this LP is a perfect example of what happens when you bring together two super talented musicians who have tons of life experience. Every song on The Bedroom Sessions is highly relatable and well written. To me, the song that stands out most is “I Do” because it’s something every married person or hopeless romantic, regardless of age, can relate to. As Claire delivers the story, you can easily imagine yourself in the video experiencing the entire thing, and that’s what great lyric writing is all about. The melodies are very catchy and upbeat, yet simple enough for non-singers to sing along without straining themselves too much. While there are tons of other great songs on the LP, “I Do” is just a great example of what storytelling is all about.

MUSICALLY: In the music department, The Ormewoods new LP lives up to the “sexy pop folk country” description that fans use to classify the duo’s sound. On The Bedroom Sessions Don’s Grammy-winning production talents are evident, as every composition is well structured and played. From the box drum to the guitar play, each instrument is skillfully played and in its right spot. The song I like most, production wise, is “Back To You”. From the outset, the sound really captured my attention with its lightly seasoned folk guitar melodies that complement Claire and Don’s duet perfectly. As the production nears the chorus the strings bring to life an emotional side in the music that you wouldn’t expect to hear, while the light percussive instruments fill the slight pockets in the production without overcrowding it. By the time you hit the chorus the additional percussion and guitar fills take the song to a whole new level, providing an excellent backdrop for Claire and Don’s stellar harmonies to roll through your ears and into your heart. But, this track is just one of the many great compositions that make The Bedroom Sessions well worth adding to your fall music collection.

VOCALLY: As an Atlanta resident, I can tell you that I’ve heard a ton of Georgia-based folk and Americana bands through the years, and in my opinion The Ormewoods are one of ATL’s best and brightest. The duo’s chemistry is clear when you listen to their harmonies; never missing a note as they croon their way through each song. The lead vocals are clear and precise, showcasing Claire and Don’s veteran vocal talents throughout The Bedroom Sessions album. On every song, the duo’s talents are consistent with some of the industry’s leading Americana, folk, and country singers, making this album and band one of my favorite independents of fall 2016.

Get to know The Ormewoods (and their dog) and their creative process a little bit, in this awesome documentary style video. - The Miews

"The Bedroom Sessions Review"

There are all sorts of inspirations for songwriting. One muse that comes up quite often is love. Whether it be falling in it, breaking up, or somewhere in between, love is part of many of the songs you will hear. Our recent find The Ormewoods have taken this to the next level by pouring their full love story, the good, bad, and ugly into their debut record The Bedroom Sessions which is set for release on September 16th.
The duo from Atlanta, Georgia is made up of Claire Pearson and Don McCollister. Together they create a sexy sounding folk-country with leanings towards the pop genre. These are no newcomers to the game. Each has been around the music industry for many years gaining great recognition along the way. Don’s 25 year career includes work with Sister Hazel, Shawn Mullins and Third Day and also picking up two Grammy Awards along the way. Claire is a longtime independent radio favorite who worked as a songwriter in Nashville and has performed extensively with longtime collaborator, Nashville recording artist Heidi Higgins, as The Daffodils.
The story of The Ormewoods romance is even more unique. Claire and Don reconnected after many years and an unexpected relationship began to take place. The duo decided that this needed to be turned in music. Claire (the duo’s chief songwriter) draws lyrics directly from entries in her diary detailing the first 90 days of the budding relationship. This became the driving force behind The Bedroom Sessions, the debut record for The Ormewoods. The title of the record is not just a clever name. The duo literally set up the bedroom as a recording studio to bring the intimate nature of the music to the album.
From the opener “Sidelines” they welcome the listener into their innermost emotions as the story gets set to unfold. The peppy beat gives a sense of joy to the start of the relationship. There is a real romantic vibe on “Back To You” as the lyrics speak of getting back together after their start so many years earlier. The back and forth playful lyrics pair well as both Don and Claire seem ready for a full attempt at lasting love. There is some real soul put into “Hey Babe”. There is real emotion laid down on this track. The Ormewoods seem to have hit a chord with “Year Of Mercy”. The song was runner up for Best Folk Song 2016 by the Song of the Year Songwriting Competition and nominated as Best Folk Song of 2016 by the American Songwriting Awards. At times it seems like two different songs being played simultaneously as the vocals pour over each other creating something that seems whole. The record closes with “Love 101” which is the blueprint for rekindling a new romance. There is real heart here that welcomes in anyone searching for something full and loving.
Keep up with the record release and love story at - Indiebandguru

"The Ormewoods - The Bedroom Sessions"

Tapping into folk music’s earnestness is the tender work of “The Bedroom Sessions”, displaying the undeniable talent of the Ormewoods. Arrangements are kept to the utmost essentials. Guitar work is particularly fine as the Ormewoods explore sense of true love and compassion for others. By far the heart and soul of the album comes from the heartfelt vocals that possess a perfect mix of compassion, care, with a slight sense of flirtation. Throughout it all what ties the many songs together is a sense of deeply felt, highly articulate lyrics that represent mere snapshots in a life lived most fully.

“Representing the best of Americana, The Ormewoods deliver a fully realized, pitch-perfect album with the loveliness of The Bedroom Sessions.”
- Beach Sloth, Skope Magazine (Aug 15, 2016) - Skope Magazine

"Q&A: Don McCollister, Claire Pearson of The Ormewoods talk Atlanta Intown Songwriters, Eddie Owen, new record"

Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Phil W. Hudson recently sat down with The Ormewoods.

The folk duo consists of two-time Grammy Award-winning producer Don McCollister (Sister Hazel, Third Day, Jennifer Nettles) and indie chart topper Claire Pearson, who co-founded Atlanta Intown Songwriters.

The band recently released “The Bedroom Sessions” with its track “Year of Mercy” landing a nomination for Best Folk Song of 2016 by the American Songwriting Awards.

Atlanta Business Chronicle: Don, how did you get in the music industry?

Don McCollister: I was in a band in high school and went to college at UGA where I started recording my own band just to do demos. I fell in love with recording so I started recording other bands and dropped out of school to become a producer, well an engineer back then, full time after a couple of semesters. That started off my music career that’s lasted for 28 years or something like that.

I’ve been doing less production and have been moving into other areas. I had a studio in Avondale Estates called Nickel and Dime. It moved from Decatur to Avondale Estates. I opened it in ’89 and closed it in 2009 and that’s all I did for about 30 years.

ABC: My friend DJ Many recently said I ‘leveled up’ in my career and I thought that was an interesting term. When did you first ‘level up’ from a starving musician or when do you think you became a legitimate music industry professional? After your first Grammy? After paying rent for the first time with money from music?

DM: I’ve actually thought about that a lot. It’s tough to nail down when it was but there was a small label in town called Sister Ruby Records back in the day. I was working with those guys when I was 20 or 21. We did a Bob Dylan tribute record and a bunch of cool people played on it — David Ryan Harris, The Indigo Girls (interview with Emily Saliers here) and Kevn Kinney of Drivin' N Cryin' (interview with Kinney here). I was 21 and was literally shaking as I was recording them. Basically, from then on, I was making legit records and paying my bills with it.

ABC: Claire, how did you get in the music industry?

Claire Pearson: I grew up in Jacksonville, Fla. I was raised a Gator.

ABC: Roll Tide.

CP:(Laughs) SEC! Well, I moved to Athens and went to UGA. I had this perception that the Athens music scene was something I wanted to be part of so I broke rank with my Gator family. I was really into The Indigo Girls in high school. When I graduated, Atlanta was the obvious place to be and I’ve been here now since then. I came here solely based on this idea of being able to be around musicians like R.E.M. (interview with Mike Mills here), The Indigo Girls, Michelle Malone (interview with Malone here), Shawn Mullins (interview with Mullins here).

ABC: How did y’all meet?

CP:[Don and I] actually had a history before we knew each other because the summer after my senior year I followed The Indigo Girls on tour and [Don] was on that tour doing the engineering.

But, we both played competitive darts about 20 years ago. We’ve always had good chemistry and we always hold up because we have the music thing in common but we were also in relationships with other people. Six weeks before I got married, Don cornered me at a bar and told me to not marry this guy.

DM: It just seemed like a bizarre match to me. They were not meant to go together.

CP: He was like, ‘Don’t do it…I love you’ and I was like, ‘You are really drunk.’


CP:(Laughs) He was invited to the wedding but he didn’t come. I was like, ‘Oh, I wonder if he was like for real.’ (Laughs) Then, he went on and got married, and we sort of did separate things. We reconnected through Facebook. Don announced he was getting divorced and I knew I was getting divorced but it wasn’t public yet so I sent him an e-mail. I have two kids so there were some considerations there.

Weirdly, I was singing with my co-writer Heidi Higgins up at Red Clay and I posted that on Facebook and Don lived in Duluth.

ABC: Red Clay as in Eddie Owen’s place?

DM: Yeah, exactly.

ABC: He’s a legend. Our music industry owes him so much gratitude. I've always wanted to meet him.

CP: Totally. So many amazing musicians have come out of Eddies Attic. Don helped Eddie design the Attic.

DM: Well, the PA system. But, I agree with you about Eddie. Anyway, so Claire makes a posting about playing at Red Clay and I wanted to see it but I couldn’t make it so I messaged her to apologize that I couldn’t make it and tell her she could text me if she wanted. She called when she was on the way home and that was the first time we had talked in like 15 or 20 years. We talked all the way home and decided to make what I thought was a date. She says she didn’t think it was a date. (Laughs)

When we got together, we started talking about music and there was a studio right around the corner that I work at sometimes in Little Five Points called RDK that is owned by Ruairi Kilcullen, who is a great engineer and has been around for a long time, and then…

CP: Well, we had dinner then we went to the studio and then he put a guitar in hand and told me to play something.

ABC: Is this what led to the formation of The Ormewoods?

DM: Yes.

CP: Yes, so I play originals but when he handed me the guitar, I didn’t think he would know any of my originals so I started playing Tom Petty and he started singing with me. We both knew it at that minute.

DM: The very first note we hit together I was just like, ‘Wow!’ about the way our voices blended. It’s not something you can practice or get better at. They either meld or they don’t. It was a really cool moment that we both felt and talked about later.

ABC: How did y’all get the name The Ormewoods?

CP: Don happened to be moving out of his apartment and he oddly rented an apartment that is walking distance from where I live in Ormewood Park.

DM: My studio was in Decatur and I was an in-town guy so after living OTP (outside the perimeter), I was dying to get back. So, I was moving back in town and ended up moving very close to where she lived.

ABC: How did ‘The Bedroom Sessions’ come to be?

CP: Since he lived so close, he would call me to come over to play so for a long time we sang a lot of Tom Petty but then he learned my originals. He was playing in a band for a while and I was singing backup with them — we were finding those kinds of opportunities to play together — and then, as our relationship started taking heat, I was like, ‘Look, I’m a songwriter and the deal with dating a songwriter is that I document stuff so I need you to be cool with that,” and he said he was. I keep a detailed diary and pretty much all of the songs from ‘The Bedroom Sessions’ are pretty much lifted from the diary. The song ‘Back to You’ is the story of us getting together. We had moments where we weren’t sure what we were doing or if we wanted to do this, and those songs are in there too.

DM: It’s not all bubbles and rainbows.

CP: Yep, but we were sort of getting together when we were making this album.

DM: We started making music together early on. Our music and relationship grew together.

ABC: Where did you record the album? In a bedroom?

DM: Yep, we started recording in the studio I was telling you about, RDK, in Little Five. Claire has a ton of live experience but didn’t have a lot of studio experience whereas I’ve had a ton of studio experience but don’t have much live experience. But, she couldn’t be natural in the studio so I was like, ‘Let me just bring my rig to the house, we’ll set up in the bedroom and cut the whole record there.’

CP: That’s where we would play after we’d put my kids to bed so that’s where we were used to singing.

DM: We would sing in the bedroom at night anyway so we were like. ‘We should just document this.’ So, I set up my rig in the bedroom for three weeks and we did like 80 percent of the record there.

CP: It was there for like six months.

DM: I’m really bad with time.

CP:(Laughs) We had cables running all over the floor!

DM: Yeah, it was like six months.

CP: But, it was really fun. In fact, ‘Year of Mercy’ wasn’t supposed to be an Ormewoods song. I was working on it and when I looked up, he brought the microphone over. That’s his producer ear. Then, he went down stairs to get the dulcimer, came back and laid the track down. Don is a multi-instrumentalist and he plays them by ear. He is truly so accomplished. Anyway, then I sang it right there and that song has now been nominated for Folk Song of the Year by two different groups.

DM: I knew the second I heard it that it was incredible.

CP:[The nominations] are what turned this into a real thing. Before that, we were just messing around to have fun. He has two Grammys and has worked with big people, is a producer and has never really thought of himself as a live guy. I’m an indie folk rock girl who has never had a label so we were looking at is as a passion project.

ABC: Don, why did you decide to close your studio?

DM: When I closed it back in 2009, the industry was already beginning to shift. People were buying fewer records so the recording budgets were shrinking. What used to be a 10-day booking for my studio turned into a two-day booking because they would come in to do the drums or something then go home to do everything else before bringing it back to me to mix it. I used to be incredibly busy and was booked a couple of months out but it started to get dodgy so when my lease was up I decided needed to get out of that and into something else. I keep a lot of my gear and have a studio in my house though.

ABC: What did you do between closing the studio and now?

DM: I did a lot of corporate audio work writing for companies like Home Depot and Coca-Cola just writing music for shows they put on. I did a good bit of that for two years and still do some of it. I’ve always loved construction and design, and a friend of mine had a doing that so I started doing high-end remodeling and building custom bars and custom cabinetry.

ABC: Is that how y’all got the idea to launch a furniture company?

DM: Yeah, that’s exactly right. We’re in the process of developing it right now. I’ve always had a passion for design and woodworking and Claire has an incredible eye for design.

CM: He designed Third’ Day’s (interview with Mac Powell here) so he’s not just a guy in design. He’s a guy with experience and talent. But, we’re about a year out from being able to put something out official. We both recognize that we’re creative people and we collaborate well together. We have a similar aesthetic but we have different skills.

One of the things that brought us together was me having to gut my kitchen after I set it on fire. That happened before he was in the mix but on our second date he came to the house and saw the kitchen. He started telling me to do all these things and changed the how flow of it into something amazing.

DM: I loved doing the Third Day studio so that’s when I thought about opening my own design firm but it seemed like too big of a mountain to climb at the time. But, I loved that experience and it’s something that [Claire and I] do really well together plus we love it.

ABC: How did you get the idea for #SONGSLAM?

CP: My experience working with a publisher in Nashville really taught me how supportive that community was. I studied out of Jan Smith Studios (interview with Smith here) and I saw how tight the hip-hop community was here but I was having to go to Nashville to find that. Well, I had little kids so I was not moving. The thing about Nashville too is no matter how many times you go to Nashville, you’re not from Nashville. But, I had the chance encounter to meet Ashley Capps, who is the founder of Bonnaroo. He really inspired me because he has stayed true to Knoxville. He is based out of Knoxville and all the stuff he has done has been done in Knoxville. His message was to make roots wherever you are so I decided to focus on Atlanta and that’s how Atlanta Intown Songwriters started. When we started, I was just trying to get people to write and we were doing our workshop at Manuel's Tavern before the renovation and other coffee shops. People were starting to get elevated and started to gig or started to gig more and the group kept growing. We wanted a performance thing so #SONGSLAM grew out of the workshop.

#SONGSLAM is something where I give the singer-songwriter a prompt and they write a song about it. I give to them a week out and it really pushes their creative muscle. We have 10 people play and the audience votes for the winner and then they come back the next month to be our headliner. It’s helping bring the community together and its helping people flex their songwriting muscle.

When Don and I started dating I asked him to do this with me with his sound background. That’s been incredible because his reputation precedes him. Every time I go to a venue and ask if they mind if Don McCollister does sound, they always say, ‘Absolutely!’ That’s a big deal because he’s working with thousands and thousands of dollars of gear and he’s not their employee so it’s really cool but he also makes everyone sound really good which is important. That’s one of the reasons people liked playing for Eddie and in his listening rooms because his sound is so good and that makes a difference when you’re a singer-songwriter.

I think the next step for #SONGSLAM could be to take it on the road. One of our goals for it is to reach out and find corporate sponsors that want to have their name behind this event.

ABC: A lot of singer-songwriters are folk singers like Kevn Kinney of Drivin' N Cryin'. How do you view folk and the mainstream? Do you think it’s coming back?

CP: Our album has been charting on the folk charts and our song ‘Hey Babe’ has been in the Top 10 this entire year and our radio promoter says that never happens. It’s because we’re getting radio play in other parts of the country even though we’ve gotten zero radio play in Atlanta.

ABC: That’s part of the problem with Atlanta. Our hip-hop stations support Atlanta artists but the others don’t nearly as much.

DM: Yeah, that’s right.

CP: Yeah, but ‘Hey Babe’ is folk and it’s starting to cross over. Also, a lot of the singer-songwriter feeling music is used in TV and movie soundtracks. People are getting accustomed to that and that’s really great for us. Jason Isbell (interview with Isbell here) is somebody who is sort of driving that and Billboard created an Americana chart just last year. It’s a fairly new genre but it’s getting harder and harder to ignore.

DM: Yeah, it’s coming back around. People are getting sick of over-processed electronic music. Obviously, there is a massive market for is but music is cyclical.

CP: There’s an important niche for songwriting. We give voice to feelings and experiences that not everyone can do themselves. I think people crave that. We get the feedback a lot that people like us because we represent a second chance at love and people that haven’t given up on their dreams. It gives people hope and it’s cool to be able to do that.

ABC: What do you want your personal and professional legacies to be?

DM: I don’t know if I’ve thought about that before. I guess mine would be to leave good music behind whether that’s music I produce, music I make or songs I help write.

Now that Claire and I are together, I have two children that I am responsible for helping to raise. It’s important for me to role model for them the kind of people I hope they will be and that makes me a better person because I’m always thinking about how they are going to interpret something. It keeps you in check even on a bad day. You still have to handle things the best you can when times get hard.

CP: People always comment on Don’s humility and I think that’s an attribute that his mom instilled in him and it’s a trait that has served him really well in an industry full of people with big egos. He’s so talented and yet he can be really present and work with anybody so I get excited that my kids get to witness that.

I’ve never thought about my legacy but I think of myself as a storyteller and I want to tell more of these stories. When I die, the songs will still be there. The legacy is just about being authentic and going for what you want, and not because you’re going for a desire outcome, but because the steps to get there are important to honor yourself. - Atlanta Business Chronicle


The Bedroom Sessions was released in the fall of 2016. It has received strong Americana radio support including the following stations KPIG, CA; WETS, TN; GOTRADIO.COM; KDNK, CO;WLVR, PA; OCEAN BEACH RADIO, OR; WOUB, OH;WMKY, KY; WERU, ME; KVMR,CA; KWMR, CA; WCNI, CT; DJ JohnnyTimewarp @WHUS, CT; DJ Dan Herman @Radio Crystal Blue; RazorandDie show @WLUW, IL



Retired Grammy winning audio engineer/music producer met singer songwriter Claire Pearson who dragged him back into the music business by making him

Band Members