Kyle Woolard does not live in Iceland. He is not from Iceland. But I’m a huge fan of Icelandic music and everything about Woolard’s sound (intricate, angelic, slightly off-kilter folk-pop) and presentation (everything about that press photo) to me screams “Iceland.”
That’s not entirely a coincidence. Though he’s originally from Charlottesville, Virginia and currently based in Northern Vermont, Woolard’s spiritual home is Iceland, and he’s developed deeper roots there than the Blue Lagoon. Pre-pandemic, he spent as much time in the country as possible working with local musicians, several of whom appear on his new single “Green Mountain Sun.” Lyrically, it’s a tribute to his current Vermont home (the “Green Mountain State”) but, musically, it stills feels 100% Iceland.
“Anyone following me will start to notice a lot of Iceland in my writings, music, and musings,” he writes in an email. “I bought a one-way ticket there in 2012 and was lucky to fall in with some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. Reykjavik’s music scene was booming and I found a huge connection with the crowds. There’s something about a gloomy, cold place embracing its most challenging aspects and creating beauty out of them that really speaks to me. Musically, my own taste for mixing acoustic plucky things with more spacious post-rock elements found a home there. The majority of my good friends live in Reykjavik, and it’s always a pleasure to collaborate with them because they “get” what I’m going for without me having to spell it out. Our shared taste in music makes that easy. I really miss Iceland right now — I’ve spent so much of the past decade there and miss people terribly.”
For any other fans of Icelandic music – which really does feel like it has its own distinct sonic core, even across various genres – listen to “Green Mountain Sun” below. Soon the lyrics will match the music too; other tracks on his upcoming EP include “Scandinavian Moon” and “Reykjavík.”