's debut album under The Mynabirds
moniker is a blast of old-timey gospel, folk, and rhythm and blues. Titled What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood
(Saddle Creek), the album sounds like Burhenn - who once called herself half of the indie rock duo Georgie James - reaching back, pulling her favorite classic records off the shelf, letting them spin through the night, and seeing what sticks in the morning....as it should. When the Omaha based musician stopped by the Guest Apartment earlier this year, some revealing conversation suggested that's exactly what happened over the course of the recording process.
In our latest episode of the Guest Apartment, Burhenn joins us in the piano room to discuss her new project, as well as present a few bare bones versions of three of her album's songs. Though stripped of some of the more ornate sonic accessories featured on the record, performances of "The Ways of Looking", "Let The Record Go", and "What We Gain in the Fire" still convey Burhenn's charm, endearing personality, as well as a poignant sense of intimacy as she plays through them. Inter-cut with engaging conversation, Baeble is proud to present this unique look at a very promising solo musician we think you'll soon be hearing a lot about. - David Pitz
Before Georgie James, Laura Burhenn (half of the former DC duo) had spent her early years crafting music on her own. So when Georgie James split, she went back to what she knew. In the spring of 2009, Laura gathered her favorite books, records, and people around her and wrote what would become the first album from her new band, The Mynabirds.
What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood was recorded in the rugged hills of Oregon in the summer of 2009 with singer-songwriter/producer Richard Swift at the helm. Laura and Richard took turns at instruments until the record was fully orchestrated. When they finished recording each night, they'd polish off a bottle of whiskey and dance to records Dandy Livingstone, Buffy Sainte-Marie, James Brown until the sun came up. That energy really shows itself on The Mynabirds' debut album, particularly in Let the Record Go and Numbers Don't Lie. Other songs, like What We Gained in the Fire and Right Place, are more reflective, the lyrics following a Zen trajectory, echoing the sentiment of George Harrison's All Things Must Pass.
The album features some notable guests. Besides Richard's Swifts contributions on backing vocals and nearly every instrument imaginable, Orenda Fink (Azure Ray, O+S) and musician/engineer/producer AJ Mogis (Criteria, Monsters of Folk, Tilly and the Wall) lent their voices; Tom Hnatow (These United States) played pedal steel; and Nate Walcott (Bright Eyes) arranged the horns that underscore The Mynabirds' tight, soul-soaked sound.
Having always wanted to make a record that sounded like Neil Young doing Motown, the discovery of the near mythical 60's R&B group, The Mynah Birds, featuring none other than Neil Young (and Rick James among others), seemed all too serendipitous. Thus, The Mynabirds found their namesake. The Mynabirds certainly summon that spirit, nodding to gospel and garage and making a sound all their own, with echoes of Dusty Springfield and Bobbie Gentry bleeding through the tape.
The debut album from The Mynabirds is available now. Download "Numbers Don't Lie"
and "Let The Record Go"
for free from Saddle Creek's media section.