What's in a name?

Sheridan's thoughts on the matter...

To change the name or not to change the name...THAT has been the question for far too long plaguing our minds as musicians branding ourselves with the name "Basswood." You may be surprised (as many people are) that the correct pronunciation of the word "Basswood" is with the first syllable spoken as BASS, like the fish found abundantly in the Potomac River, a staple of both Will's and my childhoods growing up in Western Maryland, close to the C&O Canal. 

When Will & I first started dating (9 years ago...at ages 16 and 19. Phew how time flies!), I had been involved in musical pursuits for many years as an individual, i.e. church & school choirs, musical theatre, and formal vocal training. Will was very much a punk rock kid and had been playing guitar for years. He had also written a number of songs, some that we still incorporate into our shows to this day!

For those of you who have supported Basswood over the years, coming out to our shows or buying our first album, Thumper and if you have enjoyed listening to our music, you have Will to thank! For months, even years, when we first began to combine our VERY different musical pasts and affinities into a single entity, I DID NOT make the switch so easily! I was used to the "separation" of performer and audience; a kind of "safe-space" if you will. To me, performing along with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra at the Annual Holiday Concert in front of a SOLD OUT Maryland Theatre was NOTHING compared to bearing my musical soul in front of my boyfriend.  

...but Will was persistent

He continued to play, asking me often to sing with him...verbally fellating my ego until I had no other choice but to oblige! From that very first open mic we went to together, to performing at venues such as Merriweather Post Pavilion, and many others, we've come a long long way and have never looked back!

I mention all of that as part of this post, because, for the past 6 years, Will & I have been plagued by the (difficult to pronounce correctly) namesake of Basswood. A name that did not necessarily carry a particular sentimental value to us, (while we understand now, that it did for many of our family, friends, and fans). When we started to play together regularly so many years ago, we realized we would need a name to call ourselves. We did a quick google search, looking for something "natural" and "rustic" and we came across the Basswood Tree (pictured on the left). We thought, that's unique, no one already has it, let's go with it!

And that was it: Basswood, for 6 more years...

And then there we were. A shudder each time we heard the name pronounced as you would say the instrument (bass guitar). And being tethered to a name we had chosen in haste during a time when we were...well...children essentially! 

2018 has elicited a plethora of changes for both of us, as musicians, as a couple, and as people. To mention a few, I was fortunate enough to complete my Master's Degree and begin my career as an Occupational Therapist this year, which has been a whirlwind and one of the most amazing experiences of my life. And also earlier this year, on February 14th, Will and I became engaged, to be married later in 2018.

In conjunction with all of these changes brought forth in 2018, we knew that this was the right time to take on a new identity as musicians, something we have been wanting to do for many years now. The name "Polar Opposites" popped into my head during a meditation session earlier this year and it felt like the perfect match. For those of you who know us as a couple, I am very TYPE A as you would say, while my better half, is open, free-spirited, and has helped me to learn to be more of the same, which I am eternally grateful for. You could describe us as the antithesis of one another, but similar to the classic phrase,..

we opposites most certainly attract

When comparing our musical styles, WE ARE POLAR OPPOSITES. I have been involved in formal vocal training my entire life, performing in choirs, ensembles, as a solo operatic vocalist, and studying musical theatre during highschool and college. Will has a much more intense, raw, unhinged style all his own, completely unique. But, similar to the dynamic of our relationship, our polar opposite musical styles mesh effortlessly, with a dynamic interaction producing a unique style all our own. 

So there you have it, we are POLAR OPPOSITES. And we hope you'll love us just the same.  


“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”