Daily Discovery: Scott Barkan, “Flightless Bird”


Videos by American Songwriter

ARTIST: Scott Barkan

SONG: Flightless Bird

BIRTHDATE: 11/23/79

HOMETOWN: Miller Place, NY

CURRENT LOCATION: NYC/Brooklyn/Long Island/Hudson Valley

AMBITIONS: I’ve been playing music full time for the last couple of years now, so I’m pretty happy with where I’m at, but hopefully someday I’ll be able to transition from supporting myself primarily with sideman gigs to supporting myself  primarily through playing my own music.  If I can do that, I’ll be a happy man!

DREAM GIG: I would love to play on Mountain Stage someday.

FAVORITE LYRIC: Definitely a line from Greg Brown, in his amazing song “Rexroth’s Daughter”: “This life is a thump-ripe melon, so sweet and such a mess…”

SONG I WISH I WROTE: Oh, god, there are so many.  Maybe “Dear Someone” by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.  A perfect, timeless little gem of a tune.  We should all be so lucky to write one of those!

MY FAVORITE CONCERT EXPERIENCE: Bill Frisell’s “Good Dog, Happy Man” era quartet at St Ann’s Church in Brooklyn, circa 2000 or so.  An amazing band in an amazing space.  That concert inspired at least a decades worth of music out of me.

I WROTE THIS SONG: I wrote this song as an examination of my own self doubt and seemingly endless ability to get in my own way. Somehow the idea of using a flightless bird as a metaphor for those personal struggles popped into my head, and seemed like the perfect filter to run these ideas through. I mean, imagine having wings but not being able to fly? It’s like an evolutionary prank. I can’t imagine anything more frustrating, but at the same time we all have to make peace with what we have been given, and find a way to do the most with what we’ve got.  It’s that difficult reconciliation that I have tried to capture in the song.


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