“My hands started sweating and I was like oh my gosh, this is it.”
These were the feelings of nervousness and excitement that Ivy of Walker County was experiencing, upon the submission of their first single to Country radio, ‘Bits & Pieces’. The glamorous song reflects the vibrant and strong personalities of the duo themselves. Ivy Dene and Sophie Dawn have already had great success in 2021 with this new release, alongside the announcement that they are joining Old Dominion on their ‘We Are Old Dominion: Live at the Ballpark’ Tour, beginning this summer.
Many people in their 20s go to college, travel the world and live out some of the most exciting days of their young lives. Ivy and Sophie have chosen to live out their days on stage, following their dreams in Nashville, TN. With the support of each other and their lead guitarist dad, the excitement never wears off for Walker County. Their busy schedule keeps them moving, but the support of their family members is louder than all the other chaos.
After a year of quiet Saturday nights and only seeing friends through a screen, the world is in desperate need of those lively nights out that turn into blurry mornings. Waking up covered in glitter and confetti, Ivy and Sophie channel their inner party animals in the music video for ‘Bits and Pieces’. The lyrics illustrate those memories that get a little lost in all the fun that ensues from a late night with friends. But the parts that can be recalled are often the best and will never be forgotten.
Just as their latest single shows, they aren’t afraid to let loose and have a little extra fun from time to time, when they aren’t rocking it out on stage or focusing on writing for their next project of course.
After a long night of driving post-performance at Festival of the Lakes in Indiana, Walker County join us from their hotel room in Grand Rapids, MI for a quick chat, before heading off to for their next show. Hailing from Sulphur Springs, IN, Walker County have drawn inspiration from the tunes heard around the house throughout their childhood and the artists that have shone a light on the beauty of being raised in a small town.
The discussion gives them a chance to reminisce on some of the best moments from the start of their rising career, one moment, in particular, being the performance that prompted them to break out of their more traditional sets. The sisters recalled wanting to perform ‘Red High Heels’ by Kellie Pickler - Sophie even adding that her sister wore red heels so as to go all out for the song.
While their current releases emulate the pop-country sound, their roots will always be planted in the songs of bluegrass and traditional country. As they each pick five of the songs and records that have influenced and inspired them the most, the range of their taste in Country music shows the versatility of their talents, possessing a true understanding of the influence they hope to have with their own career.
Sophie: I cannot listen to that song without crying. When we moved away, I would play that song, and I'm super emotional so I would make myself cry with it, it’s so good. It is one of my absolute favorites; we released a song called ‘Time Machines’ and this is my time machine song.
Ivy: I was a Shania Twain fanatic when I was little, so my time machine song was ‘Don’t Be Stupid’. I think we have like 50 home videos of me singing that song at like three years old. I think that was the first moment I fell in love with the divas of country music. I was like, “this is what I want to be when I grow up”.
Ivy: Dad played Dwight Yoakam all the time growing up and the cool thing was, we got to open for him a ton about three years ago. So, coming full circle, dad loved him, and he got to open up for him. Seeing him play live every night, that was crazy.
Sophie: Kenny Chesney actually covered this song and released it to radio too, but the Charlie Robison version of the song is one that always makes me think of me and dad when we were younger. I loved that song.
Ivy: It was funny; when we first started out, we played a lot of bluegrass and traditional country. We would go to church festivals and play a lot of bluegrass and as little girls, we liked it, but it wasn’t our thing. So, we got booked for a gig and our dad was like, “what do you girls want to play?” I remember we were both like, “we want to play ‘Red High Heels’ by Kellie Pickler.” I think that’s when we knew country music was the path we wanted to go on.
Sophie: I always played the mandolin starting out and I didn't really sing, but there’s this song called ‘Beautiful Brown Eyes’; it was the first one that Ivy and I sang together. That really kicked things off where I would just sing along, not even harmonies. That was the moment I realized I like to sing with Ivy.
Ivy: I remember my first real heartbreak; I was in Nashville, and I would listen to 'Better Man' by Little Big Town so much. That was a song that just cut me, thinking it was exactly like my story. I think that song really got me through that tough time.
Sophie: This is kind of similar; a heartbreak thing, but as I said, I'm super emotional so I can't listen to songs that I relate with too much or I'll really be too sad about it. So, I’m going to go to my Christian jams. ‘Praise You In This Storm’ by Natalie Grant - her voice is amazing and I would just crank it. It was a very uplifting and powerful song that would make me feel like I'm okay.
Ivy: I think so many people were drawn to this song. It’s nostalgic, it takes you back to growing up, and I know we grew up in such a small town, but that place was just a big part of our journey. ‘The House That Built Me’ makes me think, when I write, I want a song that touches people, helps them and brings them back to a time when they were young. So that’s definitely one that inspires us musically.
Sophie: I hate to do another Miranda Lambert song, but I have to have ‘Automatic’. She's just amazing at the stuff she writes. That song for me has the same kind of feel; it's nostalgic and has that small-town vibe. I mean that’s what we relate to, so we try to write anything like that.
Walker County's latest single, 'Bits and Pieces', is out now via Warner Music Nashville. Watch the video for the single below: