Following on from a hugely successful 2023, Felicity Urquhart and Josh Cunningham are soaring into 2024 with a new single Birdsong, the title track of their album which debuted at #2 on the ARIA Australian Country Album charts. Their chart position held strong for weeks on the back of sold-out tour dates around the country and culminated in six nominations for this year’s Golden Guitar Awards.
The inspiration behind the song and album was an ancient Chinese proverb that Josh chanced upon: “Always keep a green branch in your heart so a singing bird may come.” This simple and profound saying resonated deeply with both Josh and Felicity who have each had cause to look beyond the damage inflicted by trauma to a place of possibility and hope. “It’s easy to die inside and become unwilling to keep your branch outstretched,” says Felicity. “When you’ve suffered it can make you untrusting and protective.”
Josh found it hard to imagine Felicity struggling in that way. “I was inspired by her resilience and openness in the wake of recent personal tragedy. When I encountered that proverb, I felt that she was its living embodiment. Not only was her branch green and outstretched, she was the singing bird too!” says Josh.
“I wrote the song by a river in the golden glow of a late summer evening with a chorus of cicada’s swelling and pulsing in harmony,” he reflects. The surging rhythm and ringing electric guitar lines push and pull, creating a sense of the tension inherent in preserving tenderness while standing strong in the face of deep pain. The acoustic guitar mirrors the lyrical melody throughout the song, communicating the solidarity and support that music itself can provide in such circumstances.
“We were spellbound to hear Josh Schuberth’s drum tracks and Matt Fell’s bass playing,” says Felicity. “They recorded their parts to a demo we had sent them and then we played and sang our parts to what they had put down. They captured Birdsong’s mood and meaning in such a perfect way which created a magical sense of unity even though we were recording remotely from each other. There’s strength and fragility in the freedom of this track and it’s in no small part to the sensitivity and expressiveness of our musical accomplices who are also wonderful friends.”
Josh agrees. “We are really proud to present Birdsong as a single and hope it continues to speak to people as deeply as it has since the album was released in September 2023.”