Jimbo Mathus and Andrew Bird co-wrote all of These 13, sharing voice memos, finishing each other’s musical thoughts. Across the album they reveal themselves to one another again, and the conversation that unfolds is personal and profound. Produced by Mike Viola, the first half of the album was recorded in early 2019, and the second half was finished in early 2020. Every song was recorded live to analog tape, with Mathus and Bird singing and playing on opposite sides of a lone RCA 44 microphone.
Pre-order These 13 and listen to the first single, “Sweet Oblivion,” out today: https://orcd.co/these13
Watch Mathus and Bird perform “Sweet Oblivion” outside the mountains of Ojai, CA in the official music video: https://found.ee/SweetOblivionVideo
On reconnecting with Jimbo for These 13, Andrew Bird says: “Up until meeting Jimbo, all my musical heroes were dead. Jimbo was anything but and just oozed musicality of a kind I thought was extinct. Had I not met Jimbo, who knows, but I think my music would have gone on a much more cerebral, complex trajectory. He is an enigma, a walking contradiction: wild yet refined, worldly yet colloquial. He represents his own branch of the American musical tree. It’s been my dream for years now to make this record with Jimbo. Just guitar, fiddle and our very different voices. I wanted to make sure you can really hear him as if for the first time.”
On the roots of his relationship with Andrew, Jimbo Mathus adds: “Musically speaking, Andrew challenged me early on. As I had the deep south rural musical upbringing but had yearned to know more of the Chicago and New York scenes of those early days of American popular music. Bird had schooled himself on that, absorbing the European strains of American music and theater, as well as the Chicago-based indigenous albeit transplanted African American musical heritage. It was a true mutual benefit society and we both pursued those goals to a final conclusion. At some point after Andrew had been on the road as ‘Bowl of Fire,’ he began mutating his music and creating an entirely new form. In other words, he started to become the artist he needed to be at that time and so did I.”
In reflecting on the album, the award-winning author Michael Farris Smith writes: “These 13 is a little bit folk, a little bit gospel, a little bit bluesy, a little bit Hank, a little bit hill country, but most emphatically, it is all heart. Andrew Bird and Jimbo Mathus have climbed the height of their creative ladders in this collection of soul-strung songs, both lyrically and musically, a synchronicity between the two that feels joined in some special imaginative place that can only be visited by the best of songwriters.”
These 13 Track List
Poor Lost Souls
Encircle My Love
Beat Still My Heart
Red Velvet Rope
Bright Sunny South
Dig Up the Hatchet
Jack O’ Diamonds
Burn the Honky Tonk
Three White Horses and a Golden Chain
Andrew Bird is an internationally acclaimed musician, songwriter and composer who has released sixteen records to date. Recording and touring extensively, Bird has performed around the world at festivals and renowned institutions including Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and Walt Disney Concert Hall. A TED Talks presenter, a New Yorker Festival guest, and an op-ed contributor for the New York Times, Bird also made his professional acting debut in the cast of Fargo’s fourth installment, which premiered on FX in the fall of 2020. Bird’s 2019 album, My Finest Work Yet, was nominated for Best Folk Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.
Jimbo Mathus is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for his work with the Gold and Platinum-certified swing revival band, Squirrel Nut Zippers. The group toured extensively throughout the 1990s, including performances for the 1996 Summer Olympics, The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and more. Since the early 2000s, Mathus’ career has included work for Buddy Guy and Elvis Costello, and a vast collection of solo projects that have led to his music being heard on Shameless, Ray Donovan and far beyond.
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