Thursday, March 11, 2010

What to Do Tonight: Bowerbirds

Posted By on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 8:07 AM

It’s easy to imagine the Bowerbirds’ Phil Moore and Beth Tacular as a humble Amish couple. Their aching folk is austere, archaic and bucolic; their songs are consumed with the natural world and our faltering ability to forge a sustainable relationship with it. A sweet innocence envelops Moore’s cracking tenor as it glides over his light acoustic strum, Tacular’s whinging accordion and their strong, resolute harmonies, attaining a pristine, forlorn beauty. The Chapel Hill couple has added a drummer and an occasional upright bassist since their formation, and their latest album, Upper Air, fleshes out their sound with strings, mandolin and warmer production while retaining a haunting allure. They began making the music for 2006’s debut EP, Danger at Sea, after spending some time in the South Carolina wilderness, where Moore worked as a birdwatcher. Now they live in a trailer powered by solar panels in the North Carolina woods. Moore bristles at the suggestion that their desire for a return to a simpler, less destructive existence is naïve. “I don’t see the naïveté in the songs at all,” he says. “They’re all written from a place where this is maybe a dream, but it would be awesome if we could get to that point.” The Bowerbirds play Oberlin College’s Dionysus Club (135 W. Lorain St., Oberlin, 440.775.8471, at 9 p.m. with Horse Feathers. Tickets: $3-$5. — Chris Parker

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