Indie rock multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Andrew Bird debuts the latest version of his single “Manifest” off his latest musical offering, Bird’s twelfth solo studio album, the aptly titled My Finest Work. Unpacking deep, socio-political topics and combining them with upbeat folk rock music seems to be Bird’s forte in the latest duet visualizer, which was released this past Thursday November 21, featuring guest vocals by Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards fame. My Finest Work was released back in March, earlier this year, via Loma Vista. To listen to the original version of “Manifest” stream below, via YouTube.
The latest visualizer for “Manifest” features scenic and serene images of canyons below a clear blue sky, which has Bird roaming the landscape and painting the picture with broad brush strokes like an artist approaching a canvas. The viewer also sees tranquil soft moving water that Bird happens to be walking barefoot on between the canyons. Similarly, in another scene, where there should be more water visible underneath what looks to be an overpass or bridge, Bird is also barefoot playing a musical instrument. The lyrics of the song seem to navigate a message within the video, where there once was abundant resourceful land that had ample water running through it now seems to be dwindling . The lack thereof of earth’s natural resources is what’s critical of the ongoing divisive debate on the severity of climate change and policies being put in place to remedy these situations. Coming to the brink of a great disaster and the end seemingly coming near are messages that speak volumes with the subject matter of “Manifest.”
According to a press release, Bird had a realization listening to ‘Manifest” where he heard a strong female counterpart in Wennerstrom, reaping the benefits of a duet saying:
“‘When it occurred to me that Manifest would work well as a duet I thought of Erika right away because her voice is so deep and grounded,’ says Bird. ‘Not to get all mystical on you, but it just sounds like the earth. She brought something new to the song and hearing that other voice can make you listen in a different way. I don’t like to preach in my songs. Manifest just lays it all out there alongside the incontrovertible evidence of an environmental tipping point and says, ‘don’t pretend you can’t hear.’ I’ve been a fan of Erika’s since we used to tour with Heartless Bastards to her solo work. She doesn’t sound like anyone else. Unbridled and unpretentious. A true artist.’”
The sentiment was mutual when it came to Wennerstrom commenting how fortunate the opportunity was when it came down to Bird reaching out to collaborate on the track together, when she said:
“’I had recently reconnected with Andrew on another matter, and he just happened to be thinking about adapting Manifest as a duet at the time. Lucky me!’ recounts Wennerstrom. ‘When I listened to the lyrics I identified with them very closely. I have had deep growing concern of our environment the last several years, and I think it’s very important this issue stay in the forefront. Andrew is such an incredible talent in every aspect of his songs. The writing, the playing, and his wonderful voice. He’s the whole package. I’m a huge fan, and honored to work with him on something.’”
The press release furthers Bird’s flourishing success outside of music, “Recently cast in the FX Limited Series Fargo, in a role written expressly for him, 2019 marks a monumental year for Bird. In addition to My Finest Work Yet, which continues to receive critical acclaim from the likes of NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Pitchfork, Paste and more, Bird recently released a collection of holiday songs on a brand new EP entitled, HARK!. The EP features original tracks ‘Alabaster’ and ‘Night’s Falling,’ as well as a handful of beautifully realized holiday classics including ‘Holy Night,’ ‘White Christmas,’ and Vince Guaraldi’s epic ‘Skating.’”
To listen to “Manifest” Featuring Erika Wennerstrom stream below, via YouTube.
Photo Credit: Alyssa Fried