Talk about serendipitous. I had never heard of Brown Bird prior to TDBG’s post on the decline of the word “soul.” One of our readers dropped a link in to a video by Brown Bird that piqued my interest. The very next day The Low Anthem made mention of them on their Facebook page which led me to emusic to download their latest effort, Salt for Salt.
Brown Bird is a duo from Rhode Island, hence The Low Anthem connection, consisting of David Lamb and MorganEve Swain. Much like The Low Anthem, their music is rooted in folk but it has a much darker feel to it. Bands such 16 Horsepower, O’Death and The Builders and The Butchers kept popping into my head as I played this disc on repeat, but Brown Bird is considerably less frantic and dramatic. The songs are measured in their approach, like Horse Feathers, but they still pack a wallop.
Lamb’s voice is brilliant – the type of voice that makes it seem that he’s lived a million lives and has seen it all. Combined with Swain’s warm, hopeful voice, the contrast is so engrossing that is tough for your ears not to perk up every time they blend together. Fleshed out with a banjo, guitar, standup bass, cello and kick drum, Brown Bird uses no overdubs.
On Bilgewater, Swain’s verse is downright defiant
Despite of all, the wherewithall, I will fight it all, I will face it all.
Despite of all, the wherewithall, I will fight it all, I’ll embrace it all.
“Blood Of Angels” has a gypsy punk feel to it and towards the end, the two of them sing different lyrics over each other and it is jawdropping.
This is pure folk genius. I have been listening to Salt for Salt on repeat over the last few weeks and it feels like a score to a Cormac McCarthy film.