NETHERLANDS/UK TOUR APRIL-MAY 2020
Now living in Santa Cruz, California, Nels Andrews’ new LP Pigeon and The Crow, produced by traditional Irish flautist Nuala Kennedy (Gerry O’Connor, Will Oldham), gracefully weaves the morning fog, redwoods, and his beloved oceanside. A songwriter’s record in the spirit of Van Morrison’s Veedon Fleece with a breath of the texture, rhythm, and longing of Milton Nascimento’s Clube De Esquina, Pigeon and The Crow brims with literary wordplay, mixed with some sway, some shimmer, and some sand between your toes.
The bones of the album, Andrews’ fourth studio endeavour, were assembled during a three-day live tracking session at Whispering Pines Studio in Los Angeles. The studio was originally built for Sam Cooke in the 60s, turned into a funk/soul palace in the 70s, abandoned when the owner found religion in the 80s, and later rehabilitated by indie rock outfit Lord Huron. While recording, Andrews slept on the tracking room floor every night and dreamt in Technicolor, born of the vibes steeped into that well-worn musical space. Andrews, along with Kennedy, Sebastian Steinberg (Iron and Wine, Fiona Apple, Soul Coughing) on bass, and Quinn on drums/percussion (T-Bone Burnett, Eastmountainsouth), breathed life into the songs together in that one room. The album boasts a mix of traditional players from Kennedy’s past along with some of Andrews’ newest old friends like Stelth Ulvang of The Lumineers, as well as some older old friends and collaborators from New York, including guest appearances by fellow songsmiths Anaïs Mitchell, AJ Roach, and Anthony Da Costa.
The result is ten ethereal yet substantial tracks that assess life’s “mid-game,” a time that is less straightforward than youth imagined, where our strategies and gambits are yet unresolved – stories from a place past innocence but perhaps still before wisdom. These are songs written about that place: an actress in her sunset, a husband folding now-soft wedding sheets, a shipwrecked Scottish fisherman asking himself life’s tough questions as he fights to survive a night floating in the frosty north Atlantic, a father meditating on love and selfishness, and the ghosts of former relationships. From cover to cover, Pigeon and The Crow contains wistful resolve, a steady backbone, and a late afternoon light reflected off the sea. Andrews’ work, which reflects his love affair with the landscape of his home, enchants from beginning to end.
“He has the rare ability to conjure entire vistas and characters in no more than a couple of lines. His songs are music as landscape, timeless tales that instantly take root in your mind as though they’ve been there forever. In fact, if Annie Proulx wrote songs she would sound like Nels Andrews.” Americana-UK
“His canvas may suggest large Southwestern landscapes or a vast desert of yearnings, yet the beauty of his work is in the tiny details.” Chicago Sun Times
“Deft storytelling with a warmth of tone and gentleness of pace… Like finding a seashell at the back of a dusty cupboard, putting it to your ear and hearing the ocean.” Folk Radio UK
April Fri 17 Bakkeveen Muziekpodium Bakkeveen
April Sat 18 Goes ‘T Beest Boutique, Omnium, Tropische Bos
April Sun 19 Nijmegen Lux Theater