Release Date 10/15/2021
Combining a wintry longing with the warmth of a familiar folktale, Humbird stretches between experimental folk and environmental Americana to embrace the unexpected. This music invites a refreshing dissonance into the house, it leaves breadcrumbs along the path and reflects light back at the stars.
What began as a solo looping performance of folk songs and soundscapes has evolved into a fluid project that incorporates lived experiences with a reverence for both ancient oral traditions as well as musical heroes like John Prine, Joni Mitchell, and Big Thief. Humbird’s debut full-length, Pharmakon (Aug. 2019) was “...an absolutely hypnotic listening experience” according to Folk Alley. Atwood Magazine described it as music wrapped in “gentle rebellion”. The release garnered millions of online streams and a wide range of accolades, including 89.3 The Currents “Best Albums Of The Year”, City Page’s “Picked To Click” award, “Best Minnesota Albums” from the Star Tribune, a showcasing artist at SXSW.
Most recently, Siri Undlin, the songwriter behind the Humbird moniker, has collaborated with producer Addie Strei and bandmates Pete Quirsfeld and Pat Keen on a sophomore record, entitled Still Life (October 2021). The material on this latest effort has already received enthusiastic praise from within the folk world - awarded as one of Kerrville Folk Fest’s New Folk winners for 2021 and as an “official pitch” from Distrokid.
Still Life is about a house - each song a different room where ordinary things happen, where the quiet moments of our lives unfold. Still Life is also about what happens outside of a house. It weaves through the rippling events that took place in Minneapolis, MN in 2020 - a chronicle of a city reckoning with anger, grief, and white supremacy while the whole world watched.
Still Life is also an accident - a collection of songs that exist together to reflect a particular moment and a specific place. It is about survival and kitchen utensils, broken hearts and taco trucks. It’s about a pink bicycle strewn on the sidewalk. It is a letter to the future. Inside this record, I want you to smell the lilacs in the front yard and the tear gas in the streets. I want you to hear how hope is actually a verb. I think this record is grounded in the charms and tribulations of the domestic, but travels the whims of imagination into the strange and infinite abyss of inner realms, too.
More tangibly, I wrote Still Life in my yellow bedroom. And then I walked across the hallway to producer Addie Strei’s yellow bedroom, where she recorded and produced the songs. We experimented with synth sounds, arrangements, and sonic worlds to create a safe and honest place for the songs to exist. We wanted to invite people into the house, into the home of their own bodies. We watched the sun set and the garden grow and tried to catch those feelings too.
We enlisted the socially-distanced help of Peter Quirsfeld and Pat Keen (longtime Humbird bandmates) as well as other musicians and collaborators including Hilary James, Clifton Nesseth, Dave Power, Rachel Reis, Luke Callen, Elliot Heinz, and Holly Hansen.
So, in a time of extreme isolation, fear, and uncertainty, this Humbird record emerged as a wide, surprising, collaborative effort. It is an emissary of what happened and a reflection of deep friendships, artistic respect, and a love of togetherness. Making this record has allowed me to embody some of the traumas of this time, to compost despair into stubborn resolve. These songs have been a healing process, a home. I hope that Still Life will be that for other people, too.