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Leaving None But Small Birds

by The Body and BIG|BRAVE

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Translucent blue vinyl in jacket featuring artwork by Bo Orr. Packaged with download card.

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1.
2.
Oh Sinner 04:34
when the sea begins to roar and the rocks begin to melt when the stars from the elements are falling where will you stand when the seven headed beast is rising and they come to work their number on your head oh sinner where will you stand and when the moon drips away into blood and when death comes riding on its pale horse and the kings hide oh sinner, where will you stand where will you stand
3.
Hard Times 07:16
and it’s hard times in this old mill, it’s hard times in here it’s hard times in this old mill, it’s hard times in here they raised our wages up half a cent but our poor hand didn’t know what it meant they raised our wages up half a cent more but they went up a dime at the company store and it’s hard times in this old mill, it’s hard times in here it’s hard times in this old mill, it’s hard times in here old man jones taking up cloth won’t give you half that you take off if it lacks one yard of a two cut roll won’t give you but one to save your soul and it’s hard times in this old mill, it’s hard times in here it’s hard times in this old mill, it’s hard times in here the card room kids and the spinning room babies can’t keep up with the weave shop ladies go downstairs to get a drink of water along comes the boss says ‘i’ll dock you a quarter’ and it’s hard times in this old mill, it’s hard times in here it’s hard times in this old mill, it’s hard times in here
4.
once i had a sweetheart now i have none she’s gone and leaves me to sorrow and moan she’s gone and left she’s gone and left me last night in my slumber i dreamed i did see my own precious jewel sat smiling at me but when i awaked i found it not so my eyes like a fountain the tears overflowed she’s gone and left me she’s gone and left me i’ll venture to coasts you once made claim my life i’ll venture on watery mains i’ll venture through and through and through the rest of my life i’ll venture t’wards you she’s gone and left me she’s gone and left me
5.
black is the color of my true love’s hair her face is something wondrous fair the purest eyes and the softest hand i love the ground on which she stands i love my love and well she knows i’ll follow her where’re she goes i’ll write her a letter containing these lines i’ll suffer death a thousand times i’ll go to the clyde for to mourn and weep but satisfied i can ne’er sleep if she on earth no more stay my life would quickly fade away black is the color of my true love’s hair her face is something wondrous fair the purest eyes and the softest hand i love the ground on which she stands
6.
the first time i saw her it wounded his heart the young man did covet her to be married nor part and yet in vain she strove to deny for he by his cunning soon made her comply the when this young maiden with child did prove he who swore by the heaven proved not to be true he led her through grove and valleys so deep the poor ruined damsel began to weep she said, ‘i fear, you have led me stray, on purpose, my life, you will betray, said he, ‘you’ve guessed right, and earth can’t you save, for the whole of last night, i’ve been digging your grave’ when the poor ruined damsel did hear him say so the tears from her eyes like a fountain did flow he covered her grave and hastened home leaving none but small birds her fate to bemoan but the ghost of this maiden would not let him be although he did think himself to be free she broke him, she tore him, she ripped him in three because he murdered her baby and she
7.
have you heard how a long time ago two tots whose name no one knows were stolen away on a bright summer’s day and left in the woods is what people say at night so sad was their plight when the sun went down and the moon gave no light they sobbed and they sighed and they bitterly cried then the poor little babes they laid down and died once dead the robin’s red brought strawberry leaves and over them spread and all night long the branches among they mourned as they whistled and this was their song

about

The Body and BIG|BRAVE are bands possessed of an unequaled ability to convey overwhelming weight with simplicity, repetition, and detailed sonic atmospheres; artists who continue to alter the definition of what it means to be a heavy band. The Body are consistently prolific while increasingly ambitious as untethered producers and collaborators. BIG|BRAVE shape sound with dense waves of guitar and feedback, minimalist and hypnotic crashes, and emotionally exacting vocal melodies. In collaboration, The Body and BIG|BRAVE shift the gravity of their compositions to woven layers of percussion and unspooling guitars that sprawl through stark frameworks of earthy folk. Their debut collaborative album Leaving None But Small Birds distills the two ensembles’ pioneering approach to heavy music into psalms for the forgotten, threnodies of lost love, and odes to vengeance.

Typical to The Body’s creative process, Leaving None But Small Birds was composed almost entirely in the studio at Machine With Magnets with engineer/producer Seth Manchester. The Body and BIG|BRAVE aimed to challenge themselves to craft a fully realized and cohesive work that strayed outside the boundaries of the music they make individually. The Body’s Lee Buford set up the initial challenge: collaborating to make an album that evoked the country and folk roots of The Band. BIG|BRAVE’s Robin Wattie compiled lyrics and melodic lines from across Appalachian, Canadian, and English hymns and folk songs. Select phrases were then reworked and precisely arranged to center the experiences of marginalized characters, victims of hardship, and those yearning for love within each story. The despair and empowerment of these traditional tunes draw remarkable parallels with each group’s focus on championing people often cast aside in history. Leaving None But Small Birds takes its name from the “Polly Gosford” lyric “He covered her grave / and hastened home / Leaving none but small birds / her fate to bemoan,” an image in traditional songs evoking the alienation and isolation of the persecuted. The Body and BIG|BRAVE, following a folk tradition, make each song their own through shifts in perspective and a synthesis of passages from kindred tales.

Leaving None But Small Birds transfigures The Body and BIG|BRAVE’s heft into a daring diversity of sounds unbridled and austere. The loping opener “Blackest Crow” implements gusts of violin and harmony against the bedrock of a droning riff and shruti box that subtly shifts timbre. “Hard Times” threads stories of indentured and child factory laborers through cascading trellises of rubato guitar as Wattie’s petitions are swallowed by the swell. The Body and BIG|BRAVE’s maximalist rumble looms at the fringes of each song as guitarist Chip King’s (The Body) staggering drones seep into their fabric with resolute percussion from Buford and BIG|BRAVE drummer Tasy Hudson punctuating with their steady current. Wattie and fellow BIG|BRAVE guitarist Mathieu Ball twirl repeating phrases around one another into restrained meditations that bend and shift incrementally. Hudson joins Wattie in harmonized duets and hockets across the album, enhancing the loneliness of “Once I Had A Sweetheart” and laying bare the raw brilliance of “Black is the Colour.” “Polly Gosford” froths with persistently rising walls of violin, guitar, piano and trudging toms that only capitulate after Wattie spins the tragic song of femicide into ghostly revenge with “She broke him, she tore him / she ripped him in three / because he murdered / her baby and she.”

BIG|BRAVE’s roots as a minimalist folk band and The Body’s love of old-time, country blues, and folk music enable the quintet to strike a formidable balance between sorrowful lamentation and uplifting resolve to weighty effect. Leaving None But Small Birds thatches together two monumental innovative forces that render the emotionally profound with lucid, devastating vitality.

credits

released October 1, 2021

Recorded, mixed and produced by Seth Manchester at Machines with Magnets in November 2020

Mastered by Heba Kadry

Performed by
Lee Buford
Chip King
Robin Wattie
Tasy Hudson
Mathieu Ball
Seth Manchester
Morgan Eve Swain

Paintings by Bo Orr

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BIG|BRAVE Montreal, Québec

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