Summer Birds will be the opening track of ‘Trash My Heart’ the new EP I have coming out in May. I have been singing this song for years, re-thinking it, re-shaping and arranging it again and again. When I first wrote it back in 2010, it was minimal. I didn’t really understand the music of the 50s, I was just making a musical sandcastle out of ideas that I had about the 50s based in movies I’d seen and my dad’s old records. Luckily, I always knew the song wasn’t ready- so I never recorded it.
In 2012 I began singing as a trio with Rebecca and Charity. After only a few weeks of singing together I knew I had finally found a place for Summer Birds. Their sweet voices and the tight precision of their harmonies took my little melody from an imitation of the vague 50s, to a dance with Americana techniques that had whimsy and drama and a spirit of its own.
Recording this song with Jordan was an education. There were so many directions the arrangement could veer towards! Jordan has an encyclopedic knowledge of great recordings and we found ourselves scouring old records for clarity and inspiration. We were listening to Django Reinhardt, The Everly Brothers, Dave Brubeck, and even Chuck Berry. When I decided I needed piano in the arrangement I instantly thought of “Crazy” by Patsy Cline – one of my favorite songs, and in my opinion, a perfect arrangement. So, perhaps you will recognize my homage to that classic piano riff when you hear our Summer Birds recording.
The song itself was written when I was in college. I was single at the time- still recovering from a heart break- a relationship that had ended more than a year ago. Time kept passing, seasons kept changing, and STILL I ached and moped and wondered if I would ever feel fully alive again. The prolonged grief did make me notice how much more bearable the sadness was in the bright shining summer, and how the grey winter days became a horrible inescapable metaphor for my listlessness.