Friday, March 8, 2013

All Around Sound is Turning Three! - Day 5 Bonus Mix: Bowerbirds

photo by Cara Robbins
Sometimes all you have to do is ask. That's what they say anyway. My relationship with the North Carolina folk turned art rock twosome turned moresome Bowerbirds began as a rather one-sided affair.

Jumping from Myspace band page to Myspace band page as a way to discover music, I came across the Bowerbirds. Charmed by their wholesome homespun eco-friendly folk, I gobbled up every bit of music I could from them. Gathering up albums, watching Youtube videos (both live and not) on almost endless loop, I was utterly enchanted. I also happened to get into the band right when they finished a Fall/Winter tour and retreated to their NC haunt to build their cabin, rest for the winter, and work on new material. Newly initiated into the world of concert-going it pained me that I wouldn't be able to experience the absolute musical splendor in a live setting but I settled for listening to almost nothing but Bowerbirds for the whole summer. How I managed to make it to the end of the summer without losing each and every one of my friends to my non-stop fits of Bowerbirds obsession will remain an unsolved mystery, I'm sure.

As I grew older, my love stabilized, I was able to listen to other things and return to the Bowerbirds without feeling like I was cheating on them by not devoting my every free moment to putting as much of them in my ears as humanly possible. I got the opportunity to see them live for the first time in 2010. It was everything I had imagined and then some. I also got to meet Phil ( a charming little story involving an unexpected run in outside the venue, a proclivity for awkward conversations, and an attempt at a  pretty bad joke that came out to sounding like a rather serious statement). The experience while fleeting put my band love into a odd sort of perspective that made their extended hibernation to create/record new music not feel like some sort of punishment enacted upon their fans but a necessary step toward many more shows.

When the Bowerbirds returned last year with The Clearing, their follow up to 2009's Upper Air, it was an exciting moment. I got to see them twice in one year in remarkably different configurations - mini-orchestra versus electronic-leaning threesome and something else happened: I got to properly meet the band. Our interactions started on Twitter as I expressed my obvious pleasure in their new record and they tended to my excitement with a stabilizing hand much like you'd use to settle an over-excited puppy. There was an urge for genuine friendship that the Bowerbirds not only seemed to allow but also return. With my blog birthday looming over the horizon and the Bowerbirds nesting for the forseeable future I had the idea to simply ask the Bowerbirds for a mix. To my delight and bewilderment, they said yes. To further my confusion they seemed honored that I'd even considered asking them in the first place.

It's MY great honor to present to you Bowerbirds contribution to my blog birthday celebration:
We compiled our Tape-Hiss Mix-Tape.  All songs recorded before we were born on sweet analog tape.  Mostly good chill stuff.

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