Andrew Bird and his old Squirrel Nut Zippers bandmate Jimbo Mathus have reunited for These 13, their first album together since SNZ's 2000 album Bedlam Ballroom. Mathus and Bird co-wrote all 13 songs, exchanging ideas sung, hummed, whistled and played into their phones, adding to each other's ideas. The album was produced by Candy Butchers' Mike Viola and will be out March 5 via Thirty Tigers.

"Up until meeting Jimbo, all my musical heroes were dead," Bird says. "Jimbo was anything but and just oozed musicality of a kind I thought was extinct. Had I not met Jimbo, who knows, but I think my music would have gone on a much more cerebral, complex trajectory. He is an enigma, a walking contradiction: wild yet refined, worldly yet colloquial. He represents his own branch of the American musical tree. It's been my dream for years now to make this record with Jimbo. Just guitar, fiddle and our very different voices. I wanted to make sure you can really hear him as if for the first time."

Meanwhile, Jimbo says of Andrew, "As I had the deep south rural musical upbringing but had yearned to know more of the Chicago and New York scenes of those early days of American popular music. Bird had schooled himself on that, absorbing the European strains of American music and theater, as well as the Chicago-based indigenous albeit transplanted African American musical heritage. It was a true mutual benefit society and we both pursued those goals to a final conclusion. At some point after Andrew had been on the road as 'Bowl of Fire,' he began mutating his music and creating an entirely new form. In other words, he started to become the artist he needed to be at that time and so did I."

The first single from These 13 is the bluesy "Sweet Oblivion" and you can listen to that -- and watch a live video filmed against the mountains of Ojai, CA -- below.


These 13 tracklist:
Poor Lost Souls
Sweet Oblivion
Encircle My Love
Beat Still My Heart
Red Velvet Rope
High John
Stonewall (1863)
Bright Sunny South
Bell Witch
Dig Up the Hatchet
Jack O' Diamonds
Burn the Honky Tonk
Three White Horses and a Golden Chain

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