The Life of Birds

The Life of Birds

by David Rotheray



The first solo album by David Rotheray, former lead guitarist and co-writer with '90s jazz-pop juggernauts the Beautiful South, shows that underneath all of the group's acerbic wit and poetic tales of kitchen sink mundanity, there lay a much more emotive core. Accompanied by an impressive "who's who" of British folk vocalists, including Mercury Music Prize nominee Kathryn Williams, folk dynasty member Eliza Carthy, and actress Camille O'Sullivan, ornithological concept album The Life of Birds still possesses the kind of droll humor that has characterized frontman Paul Heaton's efforts, as evident on "The Digital Cuckoo," a bittersweet ballad based on a technophobe's shunning of modern advances, and the diatribe against the X Factor culture of instant gratification on "Cover Your Garden Over." But elsewhere, Rotheray, who doesn't sing a note on its 14 tracks, utilizes his impressive guest list to display a surprisingly tender and often heart-wrenching lyrical ability, whether it's the country-tinged "Sweet Forgetfulness" and mournful torch song "Almost Beautiful," both of which bravely tackle the subject of Alzheimer's disease, the cabaret show tune of "The Best Excuse in the World (Is the Truth)," which deals with the dilemma of a middle-aged man battling with his sexuality, or the reflection on children's mortality on the appropriately solemn piano chords and somber strings of "Taller Than Me." Its dominant downbeat nature may be a little too heavy for some, with only the baroque Divine Comedy-esque chamber pop of bookends "The Sparrow, the Thrush & the Nightingale" and the pedal steel guitar-laden "The Hummingbird on Your Calendar" deviating from the melancholic acoustic arrangements. But after nearly 20 years of jaunty radio-friendly singalongs, Rotheray can be forgiven for firmly embracing the more introspective side of life, something that The Life of Birds suggests fully suits him.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/19/2011
Label: Proper Records Us
UPC: 0805520030618
catalogNumber: 200306

Album Credits

Performance Credits

David Rotheray   Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar
Damon Butcher   Organ,Piano,Soloist
Rod Clements   Dobro,Mandolin,Ukulele
Eleanor McEvoy   Guitar,Background Vocals,Voices
Gary Hammond   Percussion
Eliza Carthy   Voices,Guitar (Tenor)
Melvin Duffy   Bass,Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar
Alasdair Roberts   Guitar,Background Vocals,Voices
Nat Johnson   Guitar,Voices
Kathryn Williams   Background Vocals,Voices
Riley Briggs   Guitar
Jim Causley   Background Vocals,Voices
Jack L   Voices
Bella Hardy   Background Vocals,Voices
Ross Turner   Drums
Camille O'Sullivan   Voices
Ros Stephen   Strings
Murray Briggs   Drums
Frankie Banham   Flute
Julie Murphy   Piano,Background Vocals,Voices

Technical Credits

John Brough   Engineer
David Rotheray   Composer,Lyricist,Producer
Nat Johnson   Composer
David Wrench   Engineer
Kathryn Williams   Paintings
Brian Crosby   Engineer
David Gray   Engineer
J. Murphy   Composer
Alan Jones   Engineer
Ruth Browne   Whistle
Pete Jack   Whistle

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