Prior to forming Open Wide, Tyler Ransford did not know what a bassoon was.
The media studies & production major, who has taken a year off from taking classes at Temple, and Dominic Panunto, a sophomore bassoon performance major, formed the acoustic duo after years of knowing one another through a string of mutual friends.
“We found out we both go to Temple, and we were going to go on a bike riding date to get ice cream, which we didn’t do,” Ransford said.
The duo connected after Panunto approached Ransford with a bassoon part to accompany one of Ransford’s originals.
“I had been writing folk songs for a long time, and playing under my name,” Ransford said. “Then Dom found one of my songs called ‘Hemlock’ and was like, ‘Hey I wrote a bassoon part.’ We did it and it was really dope.”
After the first collaboration, Panunto continued to add bassoon melodies to Ransford’s folk tunes, and Open Wide was born.
Living in the Temple area has allowed Ransford and Panunto to connect with bands around the city. After filming a two song session with Rachel Cooper of Somewhere Sessions, and regularly performing at house venues like The Petting Zoo and The Nest, Open Wide has been slowly making a name for themselves both in Philadelphia and on the East Coast.
Open Wide wrapped its first tour this month alongside tourmates King Kid. The duo has collaborated with the members of King Kid outside of touring. Sean Mc, of King Kid, is in the process of putting the finishing touches on Open Wide’s new EP.
“It started with me looking for people to record us,” Panunto said. “We started doing that in September or October in Noah’s basement, but it took a long time.”
The EP, which was finished recording in December, will include the three tracks found on the band’s “Bathroom Demo” in addition to new material. Open Wide plans to work with Baltimore-based Pack Rat Records to release the EP on cassette.
Once the EP is released, Ransford and Panunto said they hope to tour more as the summer approaches.
“We talked about doing another tour with King Kid,” Ransford said. “Just a small weekend tour in May. Then we’ll do a bigger tour – maybe two weeks – in the summer.”
Tim Mulhern can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org