Artist to Watch: Willow Avalon’s Debut Single “Drivin” Is a Timeless Classic of Bruised Hearts and Highways

Willow Avalon © courtesy of the artist
Willow Avalon © courtesy of the artist
Already a new classic (with fresh reworks from Runnner and Field Medic), Willow Avalon’s debut single “Drivin” taps a nerve deep down inside, aching with the fragility of a bruised heart and the raw fervor of a soul unhinged. 
for fans of Fleetwood Mac, Lord Huron, Leif Vollebekk
 follow our Today’s Song(s) playlist

Atwood Magazine Today's Songs logo

Stream: “Drivin (Runnner Remix)” – Willow Avalon




I remember your eyes of blue, they saw right through my soul…

Some songs live forever in the moment they were made in, capturing a place in time and never failing to bring us back to the past for a brief moment of warm, wistful nostalgia. Think “Call Me Maybe” or “Hotline Bling”; these tracks lived and breathed in the cultural zeitgeist, and now they serve as a capsule and a portal – a reminder of what life was like, and what we ourselves were like, in the years 2013 and 2015, respectively.

Some songs live forever in the moment they were made in, but not all music gets tied down like that. Other songs are evergreen – timeless and perennial, transcending their era such that every time we sing along feels like a first encounter, and a new memory is made. They live in the past, the present, and the future all at once – always fresh, invigorating, and ever-relevant. There’s no magic formula for what makes one song carry on whilst another loses its luster – it’s more of a gut feeling kind of thing – but we’ve seen what happens when a song like “Mr. Brightside,” “Dreams,” “Dancing Queen,” or “The Boys of Summer” starts to play – whether on the car radio, at a wedding, in a movie, or even in a store. These songs move people, meeting them where they are, wherever that may be – and while only time will tell, Willow Avalon may have very well added another hit to that special list.

"Drivin" (Runnner Remix) - Willow Avalon & Friends
“Drivin” (Runnner Remix) – Willow Avalon & Friends
I remember your eyes of blue,
they saw right through my soul

The way you say my name,
it always leaves me wanting more

But you took your time,
you wasted mine leading me on

Saying you couldn’t be,
couldn’t be with just one

It’s been two years since “Drivin” was released and seven years since it was written, and yet Avalon’s debut single continues to tap a nerve deep down inside – aching with the fragility of a bruised heart and the raw fervor of a soul unhinged.

The singer/songwriter’s debut single even received two updates recently – the first one courtesy of a Field Medic feature, the second a Runnner remix – and both new versions have given the song the continued relevance it so effortlessly deserves. A visceral eruption of passion, heat, and soul-stirring emotion, “Drivin (Runnner Remix)” stuns with intimate intensity as Willow Avalon – joined this time by Runnner‘s Noah Weinman – reckons with the familiar turmoil of a relationship’s end.



This is the reeling – a roller-coaster of emotion that rages with a tidal force inside – and Avalon holds nothing back, sharing not just what it feels like, but how she’s handling that turbulence and friction within.

So, I’m drivin’ down the highway, thinking of you, babe
Smoking menthols to ease my brain, yeah
I’m drivin’ down the highway, thinking of you, babe
Smoking menthols to ease my brain

From yearning and longing for the person she can never have again, to finding any way she can to clear her head (while still holding him near), “Drivin” is as unfiltered as it is exposed: A debut single that sees its author baring her heart and her soul for all to see, hear, and feel.

And while for many this will be your first introduction to the Georgia-born, New York City-based singer/songwriter, for Avalon this moment is nearly a decade in the making.

“I wrote the chorus for Drivin’ when I was 16,” she tells Atwood Magazine. “I was living in my car in Atlanta and getting over an older guy I thought was the love of my life. But in all actuality, he was a grimy, 2-pack-a-day, alcoholic bass player. I tried to start smoking to be closer to him, and I found myself smoking more after that dumpster fire ended to try and hold on to something from my time with him. I ended up quitting smoking, moving to Los Angeles, and never thinking of him again until I finished writing the song in 2017.”

“I always knew Drivin’ was special,” she adds. “The song was carried through some of the biggest obstacles I ever encountered in my life and still managed to somehow be born. I couldn’t love that song more. Having Runnner do his remix of the song that I’ve held near and dear to me for some time was something I was excited about, but nervous about as well. But as soon as I heard Noah’s music, that fear of someone touching something so sacred to me dissipated. I knew it was in good hands. I couldn’t be more proud of the song and to have made a new friend like Noah along the way!”

Willow Avalon © courtesy of the artist
Willow Avalon © courtesy of the artist



Runnner’s verse adds to the emotional frenzy of this aching song; replacing Avalon’s original second verse (“I remember your lips, so soft, so sweet like cherry wine, the way you run your hands down the inside of my thighs sends chills down my spine… makes me want you more and more each time“), the LA-based indie folk artist weaves together a mini-tapestry of reflection that adds to the aching:

I got tired of the party
Headed home at 2am
In the darkness of my driveway
I let you run through my head
Maybe somewhere near Atlanta
Passing through in icy smoke
Wonder if you would have stayed here
if i’d only let you know

“I’m not really a DJ or one who traditionally remixes things, so I tried to think of this as additional production,” Runnner says. “I wanted to preserve the song and melody as best I could, while swapping out different instruments underneath. It’s kind of like making a cover version, but with a lot of great pieces already in play. I’m really excited with how this came together.”

Between the added vocals, the replacement of keyboards with twangy guitars, and a series of breathtaking harmonies at the song’s end, Runnner’s remix proves an irresistible moment of raw human charm and churn – one that stands out and holds its own weight, while inevitably leading us back to Avalon’s singular, stunning original.



That a two-year-old song has attracted multiple reworks may just be a cruel truth of the time it takes to get things through the major label system – Willow Avalon is signed to Atlantic Records, and these new versions are no doubt a concerted effort by the label (and Avalon) to give “Drivin” the longest legs possible – but we prefer to see this a touch differently: “Drivin” was already a timeless song, and these new additions only serve to amplify the ways in which this track feels forever fresh, new, invigorating, and inspiring.

Maybe it’s the visual of driving down a stretch of highway just to get away from our own thoughts and feelings; maybe it’s the ways in which we try to heal (or ignore) our broken hearts. Something about Avalon’s songwriting and performance of “Drivin” hits hard and hits home, and no matter how many times we hear this song, it always catches up to us.

Here’s to more “Avalon & Friends” collaborations, and here’s to “Drivin,” a new classic – one that we hope endures the test of time.

A definitive artist to watch, Willow Avalon is set to release her sophomore single “Stranger” in October – pre-save the track here!

So, I’m drivin’ down the highway, thinking of you, babe
Smoking menthols to ease my brain, yeah
I’m drivin’ down the highway, thinking of you, babe
Smoking menthols to ease my brain

— —

:: connect with Willow Avalon here ::
Stream: “Drivin (Runnner Remix)” – Willow Avalon



— — — —

"Drivin" (Runnner Remix) - Willow Avalon & Friends

Connect to Willow Avalon on
Facebook, TikTok, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Dean Bradshaw


:: Today’s Song(s) ::

Atwood Magazine Today's Songs logo

 follow our daily playlist on Spotify



:: Stream Willow Avalon ::


More from Mitch Mosk