Tag Archives: Little Birds

Frost review from the Valley Advocate

Jet Engines, by Amy McCarley, and Frost, by Daphne Lee Martin

This weekend, Amy McCarley and Daphne Lee Martin perform at Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton in support of their new albums, Jet Engines and Frost, respectively.

“Everybody Wants To,” the first track from Alabama alt-country artist McCarley’s Jet Engines, begins with a philosophical inquiry into the nature of individuality and universality. She states that there are certain desires shared by everyone, then sings in her low alto: “Well I’m not everybody/ I’m just me/ But I am one body/ and anyone can see/ Everybody needs to believe in something/ And everybody is no different from me.”

McCarley plays acoustic guitar on all 10 of the album’s tracks. Her harmonica work lends an especially relaxed mood throughout, as does the guitar playing of George Bradfute, who sits in with his electric on “Smart Man,” and his slide on “Head Out of Town.”

After listening to McCarley, Martin’s indie offering Frost sounds especially synthesized—not in a bad way—with William James Readey using his keyboards to do an impressive impression of a samchillian tip tip tip cheeepeeeee. (The space age-sounding samchillian is a keyboard MIDI controller designed by Leon Guenbaum, who plays it so effectively in guitarist Vernon Reid’s band Masque.)

Frost begins with “Little Birds,” which is full of samchillian-esque sounds, before segueing into “The Book of Love,” the album’s only cover. The Magnetic Fields tune has also been covered by Peter Gabriel. The middle three tracks—”Make It Rain,” “More Flies With Honey,” and “Smile at Perfect Strangers”—show Martin’s jazzy blues side. “Five Points,” the eighth and final song, is an upbeat, electronica instrumental.

Ohio native and schooner veteran Martin sings and plays electric and acoustic guitar, banjo, flute, and other “sounds,” the album’s inside cover notes. Beneath the CD hold there is a stenciled quote: “Treat a queen like a whore and a whore like a queen,” which Mickey Doyle offered in Boardwalk Empire, just as Frank had in Alien 3.

(Originally appeared in the Valley Advocate.)

Confessions | Little Birds


This began as the saddest little waltz in all the world. So sad that it took a very long time to find its way into the real repertoire, but sat along the sidelines and watched all the other songs having fun. It was still mourning the loss of something that had taken away its innocence. It was the moment of admitting that music is entirely who I am, no longer who I am trying to be. Accepting the sacrifices that would inevitably come. The sacrifice of a stable income, the constant need to produce art that stirs and inspires others, the putting of my Self on display, the opening of my being to others- for real and for good. This song was my way of explaining to someone who had been very cruel to me that I was no longer going to lay across a bed in a room listening to the world outside the window, that I should be allowed to be- as I allowed him to be.

At the end of the day, it really is just me answering Ramona. There is “no one to beat you, no one to defeat you ‘cept the thoughts of yourself feeling bad”. As easy as it is to give yourself over to it and float in the oblivion of itisntmyfaultitsjustthisway, the sadness becomes just as frustrating and suffocating as the striving ever was. So you straighten your back and begin again. And there’s nothing sad about that.

Little Birds

You are light as a bird with your hollow bones
B
ringing me branches to build me a nest
Ribbons of silk and colorful yarns, a beautiful cradle to keep me safe and warm
A kiss on the forehead all fear to disarm is the only paradise I’ll ever know

I will lay across your bed & listen to the rain on the panes as you sing of Ramona
Your shoulders hang heavy over the keys
Till the ash finally drops as you lift to the 3
The soft gray smudge on the middle C is the only trouble heavy on my mind

When that golden dawn of yours breaks across this sky
& the dark that overwhelmed us gathers us into the light
Past the nights we wrestled terror & the nights we slept in peace
Will you look down into my face, let me fall from grace
& realize we’re both just little birds in flight