American Son

The Winterlings

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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.

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Poems That Live As People

The Winterlings

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Recipe for The Winterlings’ New Album, Poems That Live As People

1 suicide of a teenage son
1 bacon-loving housefly 2 new lungs for a dying fan
1 harmonium, 1 banjo & a handful of synth bombs
1 Oliver typewriter, Circa 1912
3 shows playing Nirvana songs at Seattle‘s EMP Museum
Octopus population explosion
The hubris and cruelty of the human species

Place 2 Winterlings (Wolff Bowden & Amanda Birdsall) in a rain-battered house just north of Seattle. Mix in electric guitar, violin, harmonium, banjitar, piano, drums, tambourine and a dash of typewriter. When Winterlings learn of a friend’s son’s suicide, add a housefly to distract from despair, followed by a fan with Cystic Fibrosis receiving new lungs. Sift in the demoralizing spice of music streaming until batter tastes of poverty. Add 2 weeks of studying Nirvana songs to play 3 shows at Seattle’s Experience Music Project Museum, mashing Winterlings’ creative sensibilities with Kurt Cobain’s. Sprinkle in 40 inches of rain and the death of Winterlings’ Seattle bass player’s wife. Refrigerate for 3 months until Philadelphia’s Michele Lynn steps in to play bass on 9 songs, including one about her son’s suicide. Separate dough into 10 islands of magic and melancholy. Bake for 10 days while Winterlings tour Oregon and California during the forecasted “Storm of the Century.” Cool until November 12, 2016 and enjoy with album release show at Seattle’s Ballard Homestead. These are not your ordinary cookies. These are “Poems That Live As People.”

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The Animal Groom

The Winterlings

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The Animal Groom is an album which opens a tiny, blue door in a forgotten wall of the listener’s mind. A wall battered by storms of asphalt, cell-phones, alarm-clocks and the plastic procession of stuff that swarms our lives. With a bold exhale into a harmonica, the wall is swept clear. Then, the door opens a crack and a gentle tide of sound spreads out along the floor. In the tide you hear the sudden shimmer of a guitar and realize an entire ocean is coming through. Choruses swim like penguins through miles of liquid salt. Violins soar above the water like flying fish. The haunting roll of a bowed bass sings like a great blue whale. Soon, a painted ship appears with a postman on its prow. He drops a bamboo ladder and your journey as a Winterling begins. You set sail with the bravest female soldier of The Civil War, who fought and lived as a man. You help a Belizean immigrant pin an orchid corsage on a girl he lost to the hurricane of time. You watch bats whirling above a newborn child. And inside the ship you’ll find eleven secret rooms with the titles of the songs from The Animal Groom carved in their doors. One by one, you will open them, and the worlds within will grow inside of you. Forests of story will lift their evergreen branches in your blood. Accordions will roar. Harmony will dance with melody like newlyweds on a glacier’s chest. And The Animal Groom will sing to you as rain sings to thirsty roots, as poets sing to paper in the deep winter of night, as muscle sings to bone, as children sing in their carnival dreams, as fire sings to snow.

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You Are Acres

The Winterlings

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From the duel between death and laughter in “Opening Line” to a child lashed to her family tree in “Easter Dress,” the songs go deep and stay there. And yet, the music is often celebratory, even jubilant. Throughout the album, Wolff and Amanda take turns singing lead, with words so vibrant the songs unfurl like tiny films.

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On The Night You Were Born

The Winterlings

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When The Winterlings began their musical journey in Oregon, they were known as The Orphan Trains. This is an earlier, more stripped down album than The Animal Groom and contains beloved classics like "Jenell", "You & I", and "Calling You Home" and "Bethlehem."

Like closing your eyes in a sleeper car on a westbound train & dreaming about every scene that passes as you sleep. Dreaming the stories of the unborn and the long gone, dreaming the very pulse of the unsung American heart.

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