Review: Andrew Bird releases perfect album for the fall season

Ryan Morris

Editor’s note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

On Oct. 30, Folk musician and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird will release his seventh solo studio album “Hands of Glory”. This album is a companion to “Break It Yourself”, which was released earlier this year.

This album features eight wonderfully crafted tracks; it’s a short set, but ultimately satisfying. Some of the tracks, such as “Orpheo,” are revisits of tracks from “Break it Yourself”, while others are interpretations of songs by folk and country legends Townes Van Zandt and The Carter Family.

Bird takes on a variety of influences, mainly folk, but also rock and country. Regardless of influence, Bird inserts his own style into his songs, creating tracks that are uniquely and characteristically his.

In the album’s first two tracks “Three White Horses” and “When the Helicopter Comes,” a cover originally performed by the Handsome Family, Bird channels a bluesy folk-rock sound reminiscent of M. Ward. Both songs feature sometimes haunting, sometimes soothing tones that carry their way through and appear in different parts of the album.

Some songs on the album, such as “Spirograph” and especially “Railroad Bill,” seem to be heavily influenced by early country artists. In fact, “Railroad Bill,” a song about an outlaw form Alabama, has been done and redone by artists like Gillian Welch and North Carolina native Etta Baker.

Perhaps the best part about this album is how timely its release is. Now that Boone is well into the fall season, the sights and smells of autumn are upon us, and while “Hands of Glory” is the companion to another Bird album, it is also a great companion to fall.

The album’s sixth track, “If I Needed You”, a Townes Van Zandt cover, is easily the most delightful track on the album. Accompanied by a string band, Bird sings, “If I needed you, would you come to me? Would you come to me for to ease my pain?” The sounds in this song are quintessentially Appalachian.

In one word, this album could be described as “easy”. Easy like an autumn day. Easy like an autumn breeze. It’s just easy.

Listeners may appreciate this album more if they’ve already listened to “Break it Yourself”, but it is by no means a prerequisite for enjoying this album. Download “Hands of Glory” and take it for a ride on the parkway before it’s too late.

“Hands of Glory” will be released on Oct. 30 through Mom+Pop Records.

Rating: Four out of four stars

Story: CONNOR CHILDERS, Senior A&E Reporter