Last November, deep in meditation, Wolff was visited by the ghost of Leonard Cohen. “I saw his face in a black fog,” Wolff recalls. “I knew I had to write.” In the resulting song, the ghost sings: l am the ghost of Leonard Cohen, don’t you know? I am the one whose footprints vanished in the snow. I am the one who slit his wrist to ink these songs, to cover swastikas on bathroom walls. The Winterlings survived the rainiest winter in Seattle history while giving birth to their fourth album, American Son. The songs rose like mushrooms in defiance of the dark, and a line from “Puget Sound” describes it best: All this water taught us not to drown. We are at home in Puget Sound. American Son is filled with the stories of the duo’s favorite subjects: poems that live as people. One such poem-person traveled to India and bought a taxi driver a house, giving rise to “Birthplace.” Another made the Winterlings a leather journal where “Owl Mountain” took shape. As the song was being recorded, a nearly dead owl appeared in rural Florida and was rescued by Wolff’s nephew and niece (aged 6 & 3) who took “Murloc” to a bird sanctuary, and later released him into the wild. American Son is an album where: Salmon climb the mountainside with pieces of the ocean in their spines. Where a dandelion roars: here I am going white. Cut me down but you didn’t know I could fly. Where: the dead are still giving birth to all the light we have left. The album is an apple orchard grown above a graveyard, blossoms pink and swarmed with bees.
The Winterlings at RadioLive
$10. With The Krickets and Bill & Kate Isles