29 September, 2020Print
Andrew Bird Announces Hark!, New Holiday Album Featuring Original Songs, Reinterpreted Classics, Covers of John Cale, John Prine & More
Andrew Bird has just announced Hark!, a brand new holiday album out October 30th on Loma Vista Recordings. Building upon last year's EP of the same name, the thirteen-song set delivers freshly recorded originals - including "Christmas in April," perhaps the first COVID-inspired holiday song, which Andrew wrote during lockdown ("when will we know/if we can meet under the mistletoe?") - plus holiday classics and wintertime reimaginings of seasonally ambiguous deep cuts by John Cale, John Prine and Handsome Family. For the first time since 2002's Ballad of the Red Shoes, Andrew Bird collaborated on the album artwork with his mother, who was also the inspiration for Hark!'s exquisite, solo violin arrangement of "Mille Cherubini in Coro" - her favorite piece from the Pavarotti and Vienna Boys Choir performance she and Andrew would always listen to when he was a child.
Today, Andrew Bird shares his take on John Cale's "Andalucia," an ethereal orchestration of plucked strings and swelling harmonies, accompanied by a surreal video of silhouette animation from production designer/illustrator/filmmaker Abigail Portner.
Watch "Andalucia" here: https://found.ee/AB_AndaluciaVideo
Following the digital edition on October 30th, Hark! will be released as a vinyl LP on November 13th. The red colored vinyl will be housed in a special gatefold jacket that includes perforated, paper sheet inserts of 12 birds that fans can hang as ornaments - pre-orders are now available here.
On the release of Hark!, Andrew Bird says:
Let's not talk about the dubious motives that might lead an artist to make a holiday record. It's a complicated relationship many of us have with the holidays and the requisite music we hear. So let's admit that it's a utilitarian thing. The music is just one contributing factor to our communal or solitary joy and melancholy. As a musician, it's an excuse to take a break from writing the next record and indulge in an unapologetically nostalgic exercise. I've done my best to find some lesser known gems. A passing reference to wintertime sentiment is all it takes to make the cut on Hark! A mention of snow falling in John Cale's "Andalucia," a namecheck of Christmas in John Prine's "Souvenirs" or as the setting of the drunken fiasco in the Handsome Family's "So Much Wine," remade as "Greenwine."
There's an original tune I wrote in April during the most disorienting phase of the pandemic, when I couldn't help but wonder where we'll be when the holidays come, if we could be together or not. I've been writing a lot of songs inspired by this uninspiring predicament. Let's hope they all become obsolete as soon as possible.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy Hark! And that it underscores better times.
This past Sunday, Andrew Bird made his debut appearance in the highly-anticipated premiere of FX limited series Fargo. Set in Kansas City and filmed in his native Chicago, the fourth installment of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning franchise features Bird as Thurman Smutny, father of Ethelrida (E'myri Crutchfield) and a proto-beatnik who runs a funeral home with his wife Dibrell (Anji White). Throughout the fall he will continue to star in new episodes airing weekly at 10pm ET/PT on FX, and the next day on FX on Hulu.
On October 10th, for the first time ever Andrew Bird will live-stream a performance of The Mysterious Production of Eggs in its entirety. Celebrating the beloved album's 15th Anniversary, Andrew will be accompanied by longtime bandmate Alan Hampton. Tickets are available here via Seated, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Andrew's longtime independent venue and promoter partners worldwide. This will be the third installment of Andrew's Performance Now! Series, which debuted in July.
For the past nine years, Andrew Bird has welcomed the holidays with his annual, hometown run of "Gezelligheid" concerts at Chicago's Fourth Presbyterian Church. He'll have news to share about this season's festivities soon, capping a year that has included his first GRAMMY nomination (Best Folk Album for 2019's My Finest Work Yet), the continuation of his Live From the Great Room performance series, and lots more still to come.
Hark! Track List
Christmas In April
Oh Holy Night
Mille Cherubini in Coro
Christmas is Coming
Auld Lang Syne