The Stray Birds - Folk Alley Backstage Session at BluSeed Studios
November 14, 2012
by Linda Fahey, folkalley.com
A year ago, I attended my first Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference in Kerhonkson, New York - a four-day music conference jam-packed with showcasing musicians. Some artists are fairly established, but many are looking to get "discovered" by the folk talent buyers in attendance, folk radio types, managers, publicists, and other folk industry professionals. For me, it's a great way to reconnect with friends and to discover up and coming artists.
Last year, the highlight of the conference was The Stray Birds - an acoustic trio from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: Oliver Craven, Maya de Vitry and Charlie Muench. They have it all - chops, great harmonies, songwriting.
In October, Folk Alley caught up with The Stray Birds to record a backstage session before their concert at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake, New York.
Album titles can be a funny thing. Sometimes artists go for something cryptic or pull a lyric from the center of one of the songs on the disc - a sentiment which seems to sum it up, but only if you listen closely. For her latest release, though, Carrie Newcomer has chosen to cut straight to the heart of the reason she makes music at all.
"When a song places its finger on the open palm of something true," she says, "it shakes the world just a little bit. Why would I want to do anything else as a writer, or as a person? Part of my work as a writer is to put into language and music moments of wonder that have no words."
Kindred Spirits: A Collection delves into the nuances of human commonality. It's a spiritual album, to be sure, but without all the high-fallutin' gospel praise anthems which tie together so many other spiritually-focused recordings. These songs speak for the depth of humanity which transcends anyone's definition of "holy" or "secular"...or any other word, for that matter.
These are songs not about some unseen spiritual force in the air, but that which resides in each person, which moves each of us in the work we do. These are songs of the common bond between my spirit and yours, those between neighbors and others who may agree or disagree, as we all strive to improve the world around us.
On "I Believe," for example, she sings, "I don't know a single soul who didn't get lost along the way." Indeed, finding one's self lost at one time or another is a universal human experience. The gumption we tap to find our way out is the spirit to which she attributes awakening.
On Kindred Spirits, Newcomer enlists the assistance of some like-minded friends - Krista Detor, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Ayaan Ali Khan - and includes a pair of brand new songs to please long-time fans. Take a listen for yourself, and be reminded that spirit is neither political nor divisive; but, rather, like music, is something which can keep us together.
Click HERE to order a copy of Kindred Spirits: A Collection.