Blue Gentian 001

Birdsong at Morning is a trio that takes its name from a Robert Louis Stevenson poem, the cover art for its debut release is a photograph by 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, lead vocalist Alan Williams cites Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley as influences, and the string arrangements of “Those Beautiful Words” and “Broken Silences” evoke lush treatments by mid-1970s folk artists. If it sounds as if this album is rooted in the past rather than the shiny and new, it is. Williams, who wrote five of the six tracks contained on Bound, is probably best known for his work with Carol Noonan in Knots and Crosses He teams with two other vets: bass player Greg Porter—who has toured with artists such as Aimee Mann, Emmylou Harris, Natalie Merchant, and Liz Phair—and Williams’s life partner, Darleen Wilson, a former studio musician and producer who now works for WGBH. All of this background is to alert listeners that this is adult music—introspective, dreamy, and complex. Both instrumentation and lyrics ask to be contemplated. The songs are honest and hopeful, but seldom direct. Even the trio’s cover of Blondie’s “Dreaming” is slowed down and pensive. Birdsong in the Morning may not to everyone’s taste, but give a careful listen before you judge. One could just play this music to enhance the ambience of a room, but the effect would be like running through the woods instead of strolling and pausing to appreciate the beauty of a warbler’s call.--LV

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