Songbird

Songbird

Songbird is a brutally honest, behind the scenes look at the songwriting and recording process. Based on Marco North's experiences with his debut album, Heaven Get Behind Me, he shares demos, hard-earned lessons, triumphs and finished tracks in each episode. An expat New Yorker living in Moscow, playing 100-year-old instruments, writing songs about Fellini dying, a French stalker, Kodachrome and California divorces, North shares one bittersweet anecdote after the next in this fascinating deep dive into his sparse, cinematic songs. Musicians will find inspiration, a healthy serving of laughter and great deal of comfort from this series. Music lovers will get an inside look at the creative process, and the story behind each song.... Show More

Episodes

November 10, 2020 17 min
In this introductory episode, Marco explains what the show is about, the reason it is called SONGBIRD and shares some hard luck stories behind the making of his debut album, Heaven Get Behind Me. Sneak previews of some of the songs are included.
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In SONGBIRD's first "behind the song" episode, Marco explores the real life story that inspired the first track from Heaven Get Behind Me. We talk through the songwriting process, listen to the demo version, go deep into the technical choices and then we hear the final mastered version of the track.
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November 21, 2020 23 min
In SONGBIRD's third episode, a stalker's email evolves into the song MARFA from Martin Ruby's debut album HEAVEN GET BEHIND ME. As usual, we talk through the specific challenges this track presented to the songwriting process. The demo as well as the final mastered version are included.
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November 27, 2020 24 min
In SONGBIRD's latest "behind the song" episode, we tackle the story behind Long Tall Man (track four from Heaven Get behind Me). Inspired by Ry Cooder's score for Paris, Texas (by way of a Blind Willie Johnson cover) and a documentary about Townes Van Zandt - this song is pure minimalism. We talk through the obstacles in the songwriting process, listen to the demo version, examine the technical choices, then we hear...
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What is your favorite breakup song? In this SONGBIRD "behind the song" episode, we talk about divorce and other major life events - how they shape us, how we navigate them and somehow move on. "California Divorce" is at the center of this conversation, track five from Heaven Get Behind Me. We listen to the demo version as well as the final mastered version of the track.
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What does it take to break a person? Can they be saved? How does it feel to seek revenge on the world? These are the questions that inspired The Letter Reader, track 5 from Heaven Get Behind Me. In this "behind the song" episode we talk about prison, in its many forms. We also discuss the influence of filmmaker Robert Bresson on the themes and characters that inhabit this track. As always, we listen to the demo version as w...
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December 17, 2020 27 min
What is the life of an expat? Can they ever really go home? These questions - along with a screenplay about the Book of Enoch - inspired "Sebastapol" (track 6 from Heaven Get Behind Me). In this latest "behind the song" episode we have our first interview, with Eve North who performed a guest vocal on this track. We talk about themes of loss, vocal styles, curated Spotify playlists and much more. As always, we liste...
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Can a terrible person write a great song? Can they sing it? These questions - along with the search for an ancient instrument, a chance meeting with a Russian DJ, a crash course in the music of goth-rock legend David Eugene Edwards and a hilarious Ebay experience - inspired "Way Up There (Don't Say a Word)" track 7 from Heaven Get Behind Me.  In this latest "behind the song" episode we talk about rewriting lulla...
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Can you manufacture a vulnerable performance? How did the idioms "whistling past the graveyard" and "potters field" originate? What is blind rain? The answers to these questions are part the latest behind-the-song episode, as we listen to the demo and final version of "Stone Blind Rain" track 8 from Heaven Get Behind Me.
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January 8, 2021 29 min
If we know we are going to die, what choices do we make – about how and when we meet this moment. Will we go kicking and screaming, or will we find some grace? And who gets to decide, us or someone that cares about us –maybe more than we do.   We talk through these questions in our latest behind-the-song episode, as we listen to two different demos as well as the final version of “Mascara” track 9 from Heaven Get Behind Me.
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How did this track become the official single from Heaven Get Behind Me? Is Shangri-La like Santa for adults? Why do people miss Kodachrome? The answers to these questions and three different demos play a part in our latest behind-the-song episode.
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In our final behind-the-song episode of Season 1, we go deep into the bible, and an alternate life to understand what inspired Wallflower's Surprise, track 11 from Heaven Get Behind Me. As always, we hear the demo version as well as the finished track.
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In our first liner notes episode we unravel the story behind the album cover, and listen to some of the instruments used, comparing two very similar guitars that were built 100 years apart.  Then, we explore the history of invented instruments and microtonal music through the work of composer Harry Partch and the imaginative productions of Hal Willner - and how they influenced Heaven Get Behind Me.
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In our second liner notes episode we talk through that maddening balancing act of conceiving and producing videos for the music we create. On the one hand, commerce, on the other that desire to make something rare and authentic.
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