A friend of local musician Nels Andrews was given a box of keys, rocks and other odd treasures by her mom when she graduated high school.
Her mom had acquired them over the years from some crows she’d been feeding (apparently, if you feed crows, they will sometimes gift you random items in return). This peculiar story served as inspiration for Andrews to explore the nuances of long-term relationships in his new song “Pigeon and the Crow.”
It’s the title track off his new album, which came out on Aug. 9; he’ll release the vinyl version on Aug. 30 at Streetlight Records. In conjunction, he collaborated with friend Mike Bencze to create a graphic novella to tell the story of “Pigeon and the Crow.”
“People have told me that my songs are little graphic novels,” Andrews says. “They jump around a lot. They’re full of imagery instead of having long narration in the stories.”
Pigeon And The Crow is Andrew’s fourth album, his first since moving to Santa Cruz in 2013. When he started recording, he reached out to friend Nuala Kennedy, an Irish flautist who played on his previous album. They started to record in L.A., but she moved back to Ireland when it was only partially complete. To finish the album, she gathered up some players from the traditional world in Ireland, and Andrews gathered up some of his local indie-folk friends, like Stelth Ulvang from the Lumineers.
“We pulled a bunch of friends from each of our bags,” Andrews says. “It’s collaborative.”
The album has an emotional tenderness to it that is rooted in folk, with Irish elements and a bit of the Santa Cruz breezy indie-folk sound.