Album Release Show with Birds and Arrows

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After working on our album, Coyotes, for two years, Birds and Arrows had its release show last Friday night at Chapel Hill’s Local 506.  The crowd’s response was fantastic and we had a great time.   I could describe, in painstaking detail, all of the incredible things that happened, but for my own benefit and memory, I’m going to write a timeline of how the album was created.

2 years ago – Andrea and Pete started writing songs.  Some of these we tinkered on as a group.  We played a very early version of “Out in the garden” in a Baltimore parking deck one afternoon.  However, most songs were written by them as a duo.

1.5 years ago – Andrea and Pete gave me “drafts” of the songs to arrange.  I put “drafts” in quotes because a lot of these takes ended up being the final versions.  The original plan was to try a lot of different and crazy ideas, and not hold anything back.  We weren’t going to worry too much about the details early on, assuming that as we worked on the music, some songs would stand out and others would fall to the wayside.  Well, of all the songs we started out with, only one didn’t make the cut.  The rest stood up to any test we gave them.

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1 year ago – I finished my arrangements, having added many, many layers of the usual cello and mandolin, but also many layers of the unusual dilruba and tambora.

10 months ago – After the final overdubs from guest bass players and friends came in, Chris Stamey began mixing the tracks.  Throughout this period we courted record labels with rough mixes of the songs.  Ultimately, we caught they eye of Yep Roc records and, while they did not sign us outright, they offered to handle distribution and licensing.

6 months ago – Chris finished mixing and we mastered the songs at Track and Field.

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If you contributed to the kickstarter campaign, then you know that we planned on having the album out 6 months ago.  That was when all the work was done, and it made sense to release it as soon as possible.  At least, it made sense until the publicity folks explained the situation to us.  First of all, they need months to line up the interviews and commentary and do all the million other things that they do to get the word out.  Second, releasing an album at the end of a year is just a bad idea.  Regardless of whether you release on December 31st, as soon as January 1st rolls around, your album is suddenly last year’s album.  And to critics, that’s not half as interesting as this year’s album.

So we decided to wait until last Friday to release it.  This decision, however, was very fortunate.  Some of you may recall that Andrea broke her wrist last fall.  If we’d released the album as planned, we would have had to cancel all of the the promotional shows that followed.  What a disaster that would have been.  By a stroke of luck, we planned this show late enough in the year to give her arm a chance to heal, and give us time to practice and make the show as good as we could.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the kickstarter and anyone else who has bought the album, or seen one of our shows.  We can’t do any of this without you, and we sincerely appreciate your support.

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