Jimbo Mathus & Andrew Bird Reunite For New Album ‘These 13’

By Scott Bernstein Jan 12, 2021 6:39 am PST

Andrew Bird and Jimbo Mathus collaborated often in the 1990s as part of Squirrel Nut Zippers. However, the two musicians forged their own paths over the past few decades. The longtime friends reconnected musically on These 13, a new album featuring lead single “Sweet Oblivion” due out through Thirty Tigers on March 5.

The roots of These 13 date back to 2018, when Andrew and Jimbo began sending each other voice memos with musical ideas. Bird & Mathus then tapped Mike Viola to produce an album for which the first half was recorded in early 2019 and the second half was completed early last year. As the title implies, These 13 consists of 13 tracks.

Andrew Bird weighed in on reuniting musicially with Mathus:

Up until meeting Jimbo, all my musical heroes were dead. 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.

Mathus added the following of his first collaborations with Bird:

Musically speaking, Andrew challenged me early on. 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.

Preview These 13 with a live performance of “Sweet Oblivion”:

andrewbirdmusic (See 7 videos)
Andrew Bird (See 85 videos) and Jimbo Mathus (See 4 videos)

Stream the studio version of “Sweet Oblivion” below:

These 13 Tracklist

  1. Poor Lost Souls
  2. Sweet Oblivion
  3. Encircle My Love
  4. Beat Still My Heart
  5. Red Velvet Rope
  6. High John
  7. Stonewall (1863)
  8. Bright Sunny South
  9. Bell Witch
  10. Dig Up the Hatchet
  11. Jack O’ Diamonds
  12. Burn the Honky Tonk
  13. Three White Horses and a Golden Chain
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