If the new album from Born on a Wednesday sounds like music for campfires, that’s because it was mostly written around one.
Last spring, the Nelson band was only months past releasing their debut album Western Wind when they began gathering outside to work on new material.
They weren’t able to play live shows due to the pandemic and wanted to avoid indoor gatherings, so singer-guitarist Jon Francis said the five-piece began workshopping songs outside.
“We really worked on those harmonies, but not in a microphone kind of way. We were just outside singing around a fire.”
Those sessions led to Born on a Wednesday’s latest album, From The Headwaters, which was released on Bandcamp on Sept. 22 and will come to Spotify and Apple Music on Oct. 27.
The album from Francis, Cole Auringer, Ian Caron, Simon de la Salle and Trevor Reid is an improvement on Western Wind. “To The Sea,” for example, has some of the group’s best lyrics, while the harmonizing between five singers shines on “A Song For Every Stone.”
Elsewhere, “Mirror” sets itself apart with a gorgeous guitar riff, and single “49th Parallel” is a heel tapper that should find regular rotations on local radio.
It’s also all far more melancholy than Western Wind.
“There’s lots of loss, there’s a snapshot of the world we’re living in right now,” says Francis. “I would say there’s like some indirect songs about climate change. You can go a lot of places with them, they’re not very literal.”
But don’t worry, there’s still fun to be had.
“There’s also some hopeful songs in there as well,” he says with a laugh. “It’s not all doom and gloom.”
Whereas their first album was recorded over just two days out of pocket, From The Headwaters benefited from a Creative BC grant and eight days at Winlaw’s Sincerity Sound Studio.
The album’s original working title was To The Sea, but while the theme of troubled times floating away stuck Francis said the wording didn’t fit their Kootenay sensibilities.
“We were playing with that thought of washing away all this stuff and it’s heading down a river and to the sea, but sea felt maybe a bit too oceany so we went with From The Headwaters.”
Born on a Wednesday have now released two albums in just under a year and still have not had the opportunity to play for live audiences.
Francis is hopeful that will change with some local shows this fall and more next year.
“We haven’t had the opportunity but we’re a pretty tight live band. So we’re excited I think to play some live shows.”
For now, the album will have to be enjoyed in more intimate settings. A campfire might be a good choice.