Brown Bird’s music is some of the most creative stuff out there within the folk music landscape. Their albums have been truly incredible, drawing influence from many different styles. The voice and guitar work of Dave Lamb is soulful, raw, and gritty, the multi-talented MorganEve Swain adds some beauty to their sound, be it by her voice, violin, bass, or any of a range of instruments. Sadly, Dave Lamb fell ill in 2013, and Brown Bird had to take a break from the road, but during that time Lamb and Swain married, and wrote and recorded music together with the intent to release an album and tour once Lamb recovered. Sadly, Lamb did not recover and passed away in April of 2014, but MorganEve finished the album, and called it Axis Mundi, or the place where heaven and earth meet. Axis Mundi is Brown Bird’s final record, and it is out on April 28.
From the opening track, “Adolescence” and its slow build to the trademark Brown Bird stomp of “Banner Men” Axis Mundi starts off as fine as any Brown Bird record before it. The international influence is heard on tracks like the Spanish influence “Aloha Senor Mano” and the Middle-Eastern vibe on “Blood From The Tree”.
Axis Mundi also rocks, really hard, “Forest of Fevers” is a track that takes the listener on a ride, rising and sinking throughout. There’s also this three track run starting with “Raging Squall”, a straight-forward rocker with both Lamb and MorganEve making a ton of noise before the song draws to a close. “Sackcloth and Ash” features some heavy drums, and some cello chugging the song along. “Smoke Rising” is just one badass track, with a riff some heavy metal lovers would dig, it’s awesome.
The album comes to a close with two quite fitting tracks. “Tortured Boy”, a beautiful track written and sung by Swain. The last track, “Avalon” is just Lamb and his guitar. It’s a short track, but a fitting ending to the final Brown Bird album.
Axis Mundi is an amazing album from start to finish. It’s arguably the strongest record from a duo who have many strong releases. It is sad to realize that the man behind this record will not see its release, however he and MorganEve Swain created something truly timeless with Brown Bird. Pick up Axis Mundi on April 28.
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