Paper Bird's Esme Patterson flies solo

Categories: Tip Sheet

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Todd Roeth

See Also:
- The ballet changed everything for Paper Bird
- With its bewitching old-timey-roots sound, Paper Bird is a species to behold
- Harpoontang combines Paper Bird, Laura Goldhamer and Kitty Crimes for raunchy fun

After the Beatles broke up, George Harrison explained to Dick Cavett that there just wasn't enough room on Beatles records to record everyone's songs, so they split up and made solo records. And while breaking up isn't on the menu for Denver's most beloved Americana ensemble, the members of Paper Bird have been spreading their wings into solo projects -- Mark Anderson and Paul DeHaven with Eye & the Arrow, all three female vocalists with Harpoontang and Macon Terry with Clouds & Mountains -- while still maintaining their thick-as-thieves family core. And now it's Esme Patterson's turn, finishing up her new album, All Princes, I and pursuing a sound somewhat contrary to the nest she flew from.

"Paper Bird is more upbeat and about everyone partying and having a great time," says Patterson, "but I have a whole collection of songs that are a bit more difficult -- emotionally. It's a lot more raw. These are songs I wouldn't want to play every day on the road."

While Patterson has been performing solo shows around Denver since 2008, it was never anything she took seriously enough to record in a studio -- or even buy her own guitar. "Paper Bird never needed another guitar player," Patterson says, laughing about having to constantly borrow a guitar whenever playing solo. "But I'm really enjoying being an instrumentalist. It's fun seeing what sounds I can come up with on my own. And it's a serious emotional exorcism. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't write songs."

Patterson cites the Van Morrison masterpiece, Astral Weeks, as well as the latest Feist release, Metals, as strong influences on the record, which was produced by Roger Green and guest stars Nathaniel Rateliff, Ben Desoto, Mike Fitzmaurice, Jason Haas Hecker (of Eye & the Arrow), Eric Moon, and Tyler Ludwick of Princess Music.

While the album won't see an official release until this October, we have a sneak peak for you with the two tracks available below. We'll keep you posted on updates with Esme Patterson and the other members of Paper Bird, who will be revamping their collaboration with the Ballet Nouveau Colorado this fall.

"Everyone in Paper Bird is doing their own thing," Patterson says. "It's really healthy for everyone to get their ya-ya's out, then we can come together with a renewed energy. For now, playing more solo shows is what I want to do. I have the energy and I'm having a lot of fun. Not to be weird about it, but this is my life."





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