The little band that could from Raleigh, North Carolina have overcome a lot of obstacles over the past few years and turned their mess into their message with the release of their third full-length, The Clearing (Dead Oceans). Catch them live at The Independent tonight (April 6) to witness the emergence of resurrected beauty live and in person.
Named after a family of birds from Australia that are known for their elaborate mating ritual where the male builds an intricate bower of grass, sticks and twigs to attract females – Bowerbirds formed in 2006 by couple Philip Moore (vocals, guitar) and Beth Tacular (accordion, vocals). Over the past six years they have released 3 full-lengths and an EP – all of which have received glowing reviews. To say they are an American folk band does little to direct the mind. Folk music today is a wide and varied genre, and one that has taken a sudden upswing in popularity. One could even go so far as to say that the rebellion songs of the sixties and the genre that encouraged outcry, protest and resistance has gone the way of most things that once were dangerous and progressive – for a dip in the mainstream. Bon Iver won a Grammy. Nuff said. So instead of being another American folk band, lets say that Bowerbirds are more of an experiment in sentience, and the experience of endurance. Moore’s voice rivals the birds of their namesake. His signature and constantly fluctuating cadence made only that much sweeter by the harmonies provided by Tacular. Since the release of their sophomore record Upper Air, Moore and Tacular split up yet continued to be in the band together (a feat more daring that dragon-taunting), were faced with the mystery and near-fatal illness of Tacular (that in the end brought the couple back together again), and rescued and nursed a badly injured dog back to health all while rebuilding a cabin in the woods resulting in the breaking of ribs and the subsequent enlisting of help. The Clearing more than anything else is a record of triumph and perseverance. A classic tale of love lost and then rediscovered, undeniable and irrefutable, within a classic genre that this band is still somehow able to redefine, revive and rectify in a way most have not and cannot. The little band that could will remain to sing like a songbird and build bowers upon bowers to house our dreams.
Watch a video about The Clearing below.
Bowerbirds play Friday, April 6 at The Independent. Doors are at 9pm, tickets are $15 and Dry The River provide support.
Photos by D.L. Anderson