"Feelin' a little like an old pair of jeans that you grew out of..."
So begins Fish & Bird's 3rd album, Every Whisper is a Shout Across the Void. The group, once known as a quirky folk duo, seem to be announcing their growth into something much more. Lead singer Taylor Ashton delivers the first, soaring word a cappela. Before long, his signature syncopated clawhammer banjo floats in underneath, followed by the unmistakeable voice of Adam Iredale-Gray's fiddle. For a few seconds, we are hearing the original duo that pushed the boundaries of folk on their 2007 self-titled debut and 2009's Left Brain Blues. Soon, however, the rhythm section of Zoe Guigueno (upright bass), Ryan Boeur (guitar), and Ben Kelly (drums) kicks in, and the sparse intro transforms into the frantic fullness of the song Well Run Dry. In this way, Fish & Bird introduce their full band, and a new sound. With the bulk of this new album having been recorded live, Fish & Bird are shedding the multitracked sound of their previous efforts. Not because it wasn't beloved, but because they have grown into something new.
Fiddler Adam Iredale-Gray also engineered and recorded the album, and he's excited about releasing it. "We've toured with the full band for almost two years," he says, "and we've been selling these older albums that we're proud of, but which don't really sound like us anymore. Every Whisper... definitely shows you where we're at now."
The growth into a five-piece happened very naturally. All longtime friends of Ashton and Iredale-Gray, the new band members each made appearances on Left Brain Blues. A long history of friendship keeps the band close, despite having addresses in 3 different provinces. Every Whisper... is the first album to consistently feature the new line up, but the five friends have already been through a lot together as a band, including official industry showcases across the continent, appearances at dozens of music festivals including the Vancouver Folk Fest, and performing in CBC's studios for a nationally televised broadcast. The diversity of prominent artists with whom they have shared stages - including Dan Mangan, Dirk Powell, The Deep Dark Woods, Ferron, and John Mann - speaks to the band's versatility.
Taylor Ashton's lyrics touch on themes of personal connection, dreams, and the cold of winter. "I like David Lynch movies - they're unsettling and confusing, because so is life. That probably comes out in the songs," he says, adding that the album's title "is about communication - how badly we want to connect to each other, but how it can feel like we're on different planets." Ashton's enigmatic vocals are stronger than ever, and are in good company with backups from Guigueno and Iredale-Gray.
"The feeling behind a whisper is what makes it a shout. Fish & Bird is a band full of feeling, and this album is a shout worth hearing."
-Roots Music Canada
"Unconventional time signatures add bombast to tracks like “Winnipeg” ...This is folk rock in 2011: peppered with enough experimentation to turn heads, but still true to its roots."
"...blown away by their talent...they deftly transition from bluegrass to pop, from hauntingly sparse arrangements to full blown orchestration."
-Sprit of the West frontman John Mann
"If you don't know them, find them. See them live and in front of you- they are Makers of Beauty of the first order."