Andrew Bird Releases Intimate Take on Emily Dickinson, Featuring Phoebe Bridgers

The poem, "I felt a Funeral, in my Brain," served as inspiration for his latest album Inside Problems

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Andrew Bird Releases Intimate Take on Emily Dickinson, Featuring Phoebe Bridgers

Andrew Bird returns with a shivering interpretation of Emily Dickinson’s poem “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,” sung in somber and lovely harmony with none other than Phoebe Bridgers.

The string arrangements Bird has built his nest on emphasize the gravity of the poem, with Bridgers’ husky voice seeming almost to admit the words. The changing between bows drawn grandiosely across strings and pizzicato moments contrasts the lushness of the funeral with the starkness of what it commemorates. The difficulty of turning poem to song is that so often the meanings are pulled apart by changes of rhythm. Here, however, the artists provide an incredibly natural-feeling extension of the poem, emphasizing the feel and relentless beat of the melancholy behind the words. With words like this, not written by either musical artist, they make their feelings known all the more through highly intentional musical choices.

Bird comments, “I came across this Emily Dickinson poem and found it to be the most vivid description of an inner world I’ve ever encountered. It became an inspiration for the songs on Inside Problems [his latest album]. Who better to sing it with than Phoebe Bridgers?” Typical of Bird’s output, he is careful never to overdo it, and so the arrangements remain spare and human. Whistles and close spaces created in the recording, especially in the first time we hear Bridgers sing solo, showcase the incredibly personal nature of sadness (ironically with the words written by another). But what might have been this solitary experience is turned into one intimate and trusting as the artists overlap in harmony.

Listen to “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” below, along with Bird and Bridgers sessions from the Paste archives, and find Bird’s upcoming tour dates further down.

Andrew Bird Tour Dates:

November
20 – Mexico City, Mexico @ Corona Capital

December
08 – Chicago, IL @ Fourth Presbyterian Church, Gezelligheid Christmas
09 – Chicago, IL @ Fourth Presbyterian Church, Gezelligheid Christmas – Sold Out
12 – Chicago, IL @ Fourth Presbyterian Church, Gezelligheid Christmas – Sold Out
13 – Chicago, IL @ Fourth Presbyterian Church, Gezelligheid Christmas – Sold Out
14 – Chicago, IL @ Fourth Presbyterian Church, Gezelligheid Christmas – Sold Out
15 – Chicago, IL @ Fourth Presbyterian Church, Gezelligheid Christmas – Sold Out
16 – Chicago, IL @ Fourth Presbyterian Church, Gezelligheid Christmas – Sold Out

February
10-17 – Miami, FL @ Cayamo
19 – London, UK @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

March
09 – Melbourne, Australia @ Forum Theatre
10 – Sydney, Australia @ Enmore Theatre
11 – Brisbane City, Australia @ The Tivoli
30 – Apr. 2 – Knoxville, TN @ Big Ears Festival