“Bowerbirds do for backyards what the Hold Steady’s done for parking lots— translated place into sound.”
Came across this awesome quote from Amanda Petrusich’s review of Bowerbirds’ Hymns for a Dark Horseback in 2007 (throwbaaack).
When I first read that line, I thought that was one of the most astute observations I’d heard in a review in a while. Then a devout city kid, full of all the stress and urban struggle that entailed, I would listen to Bowerbirds and feel at ease, imagining myself on a porch or in a field in the late afternoon sunlight with a beer and a book and an elusive feeling of calm.
There’s something amazing about the power of music to transport you somewhere else. The right sort of electronica brings the lure of pulsing lights in warehouse districts late at night. Punk drags you into basements smelling of mold and sweat and amazing energy. Back in the day, troubadours traveled the world with songs and stories of their native land. Unless a band is specifically repping a local scene, this might not be that specific anymore, but a lot of music still sings of certain places.
Anyway, that’s part of the idea that’s driving Folk to Folk to hit the road in a couple of weeks. We’ll be driving south, hopefully hitting up Baltimore, Richmond, Asheville, Athens, Gainesville, and ending up in glorious New Orleans around Halloween. (Dreams: we has em.)
The plan is partially to investigate scenes we’re not familiar with, but also to see the particular places that gave rise to these particular folksters. As great as it is to have touring bands come through to Boston, they come here decontextualized. We want to retrace the bread crumbs and speak with people in whatever place most inspired them. (It’s like meeting someone’s parents, but less awkward!) Ms Petrusich went out into the world with a similar idea for her book It Still Moves, but we’re doing it digital - new folk media for the new folk order, amiright?
If anyone has any recommendations (for artists to interview or, uh, places to crash) along that route, we’d be more than happy to hear them. Else, stay tuned and come along for the ride - we’ll be sure to keep this updated. And hey, coincidentally, the Bowerbirds are from down Raleigh way…so if they were so inclined as to take us around the backyards that come through so acutely in their songs, well…like I said, we got dreams.