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Birdtalker is a group of five friends on a journey, choosing curiosity in the face of change, and making music to attempt to make sense of it all. They hope you’ll come along for the ride.
On their new album, the Nashville-based indie-folk five piece explore how to navigate the unknown, learning to let go, and embrace uncertainty. Reflecting on the writing phase, co-lead singer Dani says she was “trying on different philosophies and different ways to cope with change” through the lyrics, “as I was working through the process of finding my center.” Birdtalker was started in 2012 by couple Dani and Zack Green, when they began writing songs together, which led to the official debut of the band in 2015. The current lineup includes Brian Seligman on guitars, Jesse Baker on bass, and Chris Wilson on drums.
The initial songs Zack and Dani wrote together were about processing their own personal falling out with religion. Both of their upbringings were deeply steeped in Christianty, but each of them found that the more they questioned and examined the worldview they were taught, the more it unraveled. Five years later, after the initial confusion and turmoil of leaving everything behind, they are now on the other side of that mountain of grief, with clear skies and endless possibilities. “The sting of the anger and fear is gone,” Explains Zack. “This new era is about being present for life’s journey, accepting that there isn't a way to know exactly what to do, but the key is discovering what your navigation system is, knowing your meaning maker and where you come from as an individual.”
Dani agrees, saying “This album is about figuring out how to find your way in spite of being unsure, and also the feelings of loss that come with letting go of the old ways. When you plug your life’s navigation back into your own gut, how scary and great that feels at the same time.” The pair are no longer looking back, but now looking ahead to forge their own path to meaning. Birdtalker had already planned to spend 2020 writing and recording their second full length album, so when the pandemic put a halt to live music, they were prepared to stay put and dig in. Zack and Dani wrote most of the songs together, and then brought them to Jesse, Brian, and Chris to craft their parts and contribute to the vision of each song. Whereas the unexpected success of their 2017 song “Heavy” left them writing and releasing their first album One with a sense of urgency, this new album finds the band much more comfortable in their own skin, with a crystal-clear vision. You can hear this in the expanded sonic palette across the album, and creatively confident songwriting. “This record feels much more spacious, explorative, and curious. We felt very connected to ourselves and the creative process. We went in with no expectations, we just wanted it to feel good and to have fun.” Says Zack.
The lead single from the album, “Old Sob Story,” exemplifies this newfound creative freedom. Brazenly marching into new distortion-soaked sonic territory, it’s full of bravado and sass. “Lyrically, it’s got a ‘fuck this I’m tired of myself’ vibe, just done with the old and ready for the new. It feels like an echo of ‘Heavy,’ but instead of being sensitive and melodramatic, we’re very open-handed and unabashed, almost silly. It’s about getting out of the head and into the body and a deeper sense of knowing.”
Another cornerstone of the record is the breezy duet “Tides,” where Dani and Zack trade verses and serenely harmonize together, speaking about learning how to find balance in their
relationship as they evolve together. Tying in with the greater philosophical themes of the album, this song can also be applied to how we relate with the world around us, that learning to exist in this dance, this constant movement, is how we get to “higher ground.”
“Apes in a Daydream” is the last song that was written and appropriately, it closes out the album. The song came about unintentionally when the band was almost done recording. When Zack brought it to the studio he realized that “it almost tells the story of the whole record” and they had to add this one more song. “It feels like the conclusion to this journey, where we’ve found a way to be ok with not knowing the way. The song provides a comforting voice, guiding the listener not to look outside themself for direction, but to use their heart and their joy as a compass.”
Birdtalker have cultivated a special connection with their listeners through their blend of pulsing indie folk, honest lyrics, and breathtaking harmonies. They released their debut album One in 2018 via Sensibility Recordings/Tone Tree Music. The album featured their breakout single “Heavy,” which has now amassed over 76 million streams on Spotify alone. One was met with widespread critical acclaim including Billboard, American Songwriter, NPR’s World Cafe, Folk Alley, and Relix. NPR Music named it “a beautiful record,” while Rolling Stone called it “infectious and sprightly.” The release also led to the band’s debut performance on the world famous Grand Ole Opry later that year.
Now after signing with new management, Sawyer & Garner, and NYC-based indie label AntiFragile Music, Birdtalker is ready to delight our ears with their most raw and immersive music yet with the self-titled album and US tour coming in Fall 2021.
1 Cannery Row
Nashville, TN, 37203