Three musicians are on stage playing their respective instrument. Andy Vaggalis is wearing Black and playing the bass. Next to him is Chloe Gose playing a violin and wearing a long sage dress. Next to her is Noah Gose playing an acoustic guitar and wearing blue.
The Wildwoods, Andy Vaggalis (L), Chloe Gose (M) and Noah Gose (R) perform at their album release party at First Plymouth Church in Lincoln on Feb. 17. Photo by Savannah Redl

Newlyweds Liz Little and Jake Schaffer knew exactly where they wanted to honeymoon after getting married in Las Vegas. The couple, 57 and 63 from Missouri, only knew of The Wildwoods 6 months prior when they saw a viral video on Instagram.  

The Wildwoods are a folk band from Lincoln, Nebraska. Chloe and Noah Gose are high school sweethearts turned married couple who started their band back in 2012 when they were 14 and 15, respectively. Chloe plays the violin and sings while Noah plays the guitar and sings. 

For over 11 years, The Wildwoods have undergone many band member changes, including being a trio, a five-piece and most recently, a duo. 

Over the summer, Chloe and Noah decided to rebrand The Wildwoods. This included adding a third member and putting extra focus on social media content. 

“We thought this is what the music is calling for at this time. So that’s why we’ve changed and rebranded,” Chloe said. 

In August, childhood friend Andy Vaggalis joined the band as a bass player completing the trio. 

“Andy is not only our best friend, but he’s one of the best musicians that we know,” Noah said. 

Chloe and Noah said adding a third person helped them achieve the sound they envisioned. 

“We were able to kind of work through a lot of fun and interesting music together but having that extra coloration of adding a third harmony and adding a bass just kind of puts the cherry on top,” Noah said. 

Some of their biggest songs as a trio include West Virginia Rain and 13 sailboats which both came out last year. 

Everything changed a month after The Wildwoods became a trio when their Instagram reel went viral with over 6 million views and 250,000 likes. 

They said it felt like it came out of nowhere, and Noah didn’t originally want to post it. 

Noah said their primary focus was always building a local following. In August, they decided it was time to give a special focus to social media. 

“We hadn’t really hit a social media milestone before, but that’s the most fruitful way that musicians become well known nowadays,” Noah said. 

Chloe agreed and said it’s easier to reach a wider audience by posting live music on social media. 

The viral video of the trio playing “Home” by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros came mere weeks after they decided to dedicate their time to social media. 

“We just kept watching the numbers go up like hour by hour. It was crazy,” Chloe said. 

In August, they had around 2,000 followers. After posting the cover in October their follower count went up to 120,000. As of March 2023, their follower count sits at about 154,000. 

They said they found the new aspect of success thrilling, but it also introduced a new kind of pressure. 

“This was kind of the first thing that really gave us the mindset of ‘we can actually do this.’ We just have to continue to push forward and continue to make content and tour and play shows. It’s very exciting, and it’s also very scary because what do we do next? How do we keep people here? How do we keep them engaged?” Noah said. 

Despite the pressure, Vaggalis said the video going viral helped the transition of his addition to the band. 

I very much wanted to make sure I wasn’t throwing a wrench into an already well-oiled machine. I feel like when everything started to go viral; it was the push that moved the transition phase into high gear,” Vaggalis said. 

Going viral also changed the business side of things. The Wildwoods received an influx of dm’s and emails, so many they said it was hard to keep track. 

“I had, like, a mental breakdown trying to manage everything,” Chloe said. 

The Wildwoods are independent artists, which means they have no management representation and do everything themselves. 

“It’s not by choice,” Noah said. “It wasn’t that difficult before when nobody knows who you are.” 

Splitting time between making content, playing live, and dealing with the business side of things has proved challenging for The Wildwoods, especially since they don’t get paid unless they play a show. 

However, they said reaching so many people and doing what they love is worth it. 

“It never feels like a waste of time,” Chloe said. 

The Wildwoods have people reaching out from all over the world, opening doors to new opportunities. 

“A couple in Switzerland reached out, and they are flying us out to play at their wedding,” Noah said. 

The day before their album release party, for “Foxfield Saint John” a snowstorm blew through Lincoln. The Wildwoods feared this would affect attendance to their show, but even snow couldn’t keep eager fans away. 

Their social media success has crossed over into the real world. More people than ever are coming to see them play. Their album release party on Feb. 17 sold more than 330 tickets at First Plymouth Church. 

“I was very shocked at our album release. I didn’t think there would be people there just because they heard us on social media,” Chloe said. 

The Wildwoods spoke with people that came from South Dakota, North Carolina and Texas just to see them play. 

Their album release was the biggest show they’ve played to date.

I had to take off my glasses and not look into the crowd. I was scared of becoming nervous. I think adrenaline had just taken over and  I’m just riding this wave,” Vaggalis said.

Chloe said she’s afraid the music will never be enough to satisfy the audience in a live setting. 

Liz Little couldn’t disagree with that more. She said seeing The Wildwoods live was the perfect Honeymoon. 

“It was even more beautiful than I could’ve thought. I was charmed.” Little said. 

The Wildwoods are planning a nationwide tour starting in March and going through October. 

Noah said their online success has had its challenges, but at the end of the day helps The Wildwoods do what they love. 

“More and more people have come on to our shows outside of Nebraska,” Noah said. “It’s been very good for the soul, but also good for the pockets.”

Savannah Redl is a senior journalism and broadcasting major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was apart of an Pulitzer prize winning team at The New York Times tracking COVID-19 in U.S. Prisons. She hopes to continue doing important work in journalism.