Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird has been doing his own thing under-the-radar in various bands, collaborations, and solo efforts — across multiple genres — for two decades. He may not be a household name — unless you know him from his tenure with Squirrel Nut Zippers — but those who seek true ‘artistry’ in a music artist continue to pay attention to his prolific body of work. Today it is my pleasure to give Bird his inaugural exposure on The ‘Gig with the song “Manifest,” from his latest recording.
With playfully colorful animation by Andrea Nakhla, the video for “Manifest” is an ideal accompaniment to this somewhat wistful song that delivers an urgent call to action regarding not just defending, but actively saving our environment, wildlife and natural resources. There’s never been a better time than now to wake up and own your destiny, even if it means acknowledging that we’ve got our work cut out for us. “I’m interested in the idea that our enemies are what makes us whole,” Bird explains. The song’s lyrics are direct and risk-taking, cutting to the quick of what’s happening in our world. The message is that it’s not too late to turn things around.
With all of his many talents, at his core, Andrew Bird is a gifted storyteller whose turn of phrase and instrumental arrangements remind me of greats like Leonard Cohen and James Taylor. He is certainly a unique and welcome voice in today’s cultural climate. “Manifest” can be found on Andrew’s brand new album, My Finest Work Yet, out now on Loma Vista Recordings. Enjoy!
I’m really excited about this week’s clip, “When I Fly” by singer/songwriter David Poe, an artist I first wrote about way back in 1996. Poe’s music reminded me then of serious 1970s-era performers like James Taylor but also Art Garfunkel and the great Tim Moore (who, as far as I know is still alive, but hasn’t recorded an album in almost 30 years, WTF?). Anyway, “When I Fly” reveals evidence of those same types of seventies-ish influences. This says two things to me: 1. That, musically, David Poe knows his shit, and 2. Poe understands that if it works, don’t fix it.
Thematically, “When I Fly” is a 2014 version of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky.” If you know what that means, great. If not, it doesn’t matter. Aurally, the song is an acoustic guitar accompanying pristine word economy in a song that anyone who has lived a life will be able to relate to. Visually, this clip looks like the home movies of someone who has had an awesome life. I know that “Lyric Videos” are all the rage these day and usually they put me off, but I like this one. Pay special attention towards the end for a montage of subliminal images that includes Ronnie James Dio. Excellent
“When I Fly” is from the not yet released album God & The Girl, which David calls “a quiet record of new songs I recorded last year in Los Angeles.” The full album will not be generally available online or in stores until much later this year, but for now, it’s available exclusively through his website, accessible by clicking This Link. Purchase, Download, Listen and Enjoy!