Birdtalker, the Nashville-based indie-folk quintet, dropped its self-titled album today (October 8) in a deceptively profound sonic package. The band’s easy-going sound on this record sweeps up listeners into the band’s clever verses. Recently, American Songwriter caught up with founding members and married duo, Dani and Zack Green, to get a behind-the-scenes look at Birdtalker.
This record follows the band’s debut album, One (2018), with a boldly curious and unrestrained feel. “That’s why we decided to self-title this album,” Dani explains, “because I think for all of us, [it] feels like the first time that we really took that chance on ourselves to branch out a little bit and explore what we had to offer.”
“A lot of it is getting in touch with your meaning maker,” Zack chimes in. “And from what place you make decisions and trying to find that so you’re not tossed and turned about by the frames that you were handed down.”
The individual tracks on the album embrace a more rootsy version of Birdtalker, and “Better Days,” in particular, was written with a melodramatic flair. Dani explains that the creative process for “Better Days” was a typical push and pull between herself and Zack. The latter wrote the music for the track with hints of optimism and Dani added in the lyrics.
“‘The Dream’ was a little bit more of a free for all in the studio, it was very fun,” Zack continues about the band’s new songs. “There are a couple moments in that song that I think are incredible, they capture something that happened in the studio that would not have happened the following day—something else would have happened [on another day].”
The boisterous glockenspiels can be heard sprinkled in throughout “The Dream,” and Birdtalker continued with its unbridled zest on its other tracks. “Apes In A Daydream” emerged when Dani took inspiration from seeing her friend become a parent. “I was thinking about, ‘What is that experience like to have this brand new fresh human discovering everything?’ You [are] in the role of guide,” Dani begins.
“I was just playing with that idea, and that’s where the lyrics came from—me exploring that idea. Then as I was writing them, I realized I was writing the lyrics about a baby and I was also writing them about myself because I was dealing with some of the same questions of like, ‘How do you figure out how to navigate your life? How do you figure out your value systems?’”
Overall, Birdtalker’s self-titled album is a bundle of touching melodies and brilliant lyricism. Backed with the invaluable contributions of band members, Chris Wilson, Brian Seligman, and Jesse Baker, Birdtalker has taken their craft two steps forward with their new album. Be sure to check out other stand-out tracks like “Clear Water” and “Old Sob Story.”
“I hope that [Birdtalker] just lets people into a space where they feel like it’s okay to not have answers,” Dani concludes. “There can be some comfort in hearing other people say that they don’t have answers either, but we’re all going to figure it out together.”
Listen to Birdtalker below, and check out the band’s tour dates here.
Photo by Jeremy Cowart