Critically acclaimed composer, singer and violinist Andrew Bird quietly soars to new heights with his latest release, which marks his debut on Righteous Babe Records. Weather Systems, a lush, gorgeous collection of 7 original songs plus Bird's own adaptation of a Galway Kinnell poem and a Handsome Family cover, showcases this distinctive artist's gift for conveying subtle emotional states purely through music.
The songs on Weather Systems reveal themselves at a confidant, unhurried pace reflecting the thoughtfulness with which they were conceived. Following a busy year and a half of touring with his band Bowl of Fire to promote his much-praised 2001 album The Swimming Hour, Bird retreated to a remote valley in western Illinois three hours west of Chicago, where he converted an old barn into a combination studio/living space and began developing and recording new solo material. "I'm trying to make [creating music] a part of my everyday life," he says.
In addition to his signature violin (which he often plays like a guitar), the virtuoso instrumentalist employs glockenspiel, organ, whistling, and tape loops to set the scene for the intimate, haunting stories he tells through his lyrics. Bowl of Fire bandmates Kevin O'Donnell (drums, percussion, glockenspiel) and Nora O'Connor (vocals, guitar) accompany Bird, and producer/engineer Mark Nevers (Lambchop, Will Oldham) crafts a stunning, almost orchestral setting for the recording.
The title track unfolds like an impossibly long camera shot moving from the microscopic to the panoramic — "I can see your blood flow / I can see your cells grow" — as Bird's violin merges with his voice. Other pieces like "I" and "Skin" are vignettes constructed from fragments of a larger work in progress. Also included on the disc is an 8-minute Quicktime film on the making of the record by director Robert Trondson.
Released: June 2003
1. First Song
7. Weather Systems
8. Don't be Scared