It’s refreshing when a band is christened purposefully and not by randomly assembling words that have never been juxtaposed before. The Bowerbirds took their name from an Australian species characterized by the males’ propensity for creating artistically sculptural nests to attract mates, a quality that accordionist Beth Tacular found worthy of tribute. The band that she so named rose from the ashes of the late, lamented Ticonderoga when guitarist/vocalist Phil Moore and pianist/vocalist Mark Paulson continued their musical collaboration after their band’s unfortunate dissolution: Moore recruited Tacular as a bandmate initially but their relationship turned personal.
Eventually the trio set up camp in the Raleigh, N.C., area and, inspired by the area’s history and geography, wrote and recorded their first releases (the Danger at Sea EP and the full-length Hymns for a Dark Horse).
An overwhelmingly positive Web review from the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle attracted the interest of Bloomington’s Dead Oceans and the indie signed the Bowerbirds and reissued Hymns last year with a handful of bonus tracks, setting the stage for several months of transatlantic touring that was so hectic the band was forced to cancel several dates due to sheer exhaustion.
Now fully rested, the Bowerbirds are ready to take to the road again in support of their stunning new album, Upper Air, slated for release in early July and brimming with the rootsy Folkalachia appeal of Hymns with subtle shades of Nick Drake, Devendra Banhart, Clem Snide, Ron Sexsmith, Van Dyke Parks and Jeff Buckley running through the sparse but beautifully appointed arrangements. The Bowerbirds craft a sound that is equal parts bedroom Pop and front porch Americana, combined in a way that is both timeless and contemporary.
(Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.)