Revered drummer & prolific songwriter, Kyle Crane has lent his talents on tours with the likes of Neko Case and M. Ward among others, as well as being the incredible drum double for the Oscar-winning film Whiplash. Crane Like The Bird is his latest project with the debut self-titled album set forrelease this Friday, January 18. An autobiographical album steeped in the loving memory of his father, it is fitting to release new single “When I See” featuring Conor Oberston vocals, which premiered with KCRW today.
Crane explains, “The verses on this song are about a snowboard trip I took with my father where we were stuck on the mountain due to a snow storm. I think a lot of us hold on to the idea that we will see our loved ones again when we pass on. If I’m 90 years old when I die and my father was 35 when he passed what will that meeting look like? Will I see my father as a young man in his prime or will I transform back into that 10 year old kid sitting shotgun in a Isuzu Trooper on the way to the Mountain?”
Crane Like The Bird is akin to gazing out different windows of the same childhood house. Crane’s pilot father, Jeff was a Coast Guard lieutenant out of Humboldt Bay, CA; his helicopter went down in a 1997 search-and-rescue mission, leaving the family shattered. The album tells the story of the time leading up to his father’s death and the effects on them – everything from the music to the album art that includes his father’s old pilot logs and maps, and the album cover photo of his mother at the site of the crash on the cliffs of Mendocino, throwing a rose out to sea.
The album touches on love, loss and memory, but also ski lifts and Nintendo, making it clear that romance songs don’t have a monopoly on the universal human experience. The impeccable collaborations on the album makes it come alive with diverse palettes; Conor Oberst on lush track “When I See” featuring Daniel Lanois on pedal steel and Kurt Rosenwinkel on electric guitar, James Mercer on jangly, fast-driving opener “Wishing Cap,” Luke Steele on synth-laced “Mendocino,” Peter Morén on New Wave–inflected “Glass Half Full” and Sabina Sciubba in spoken French on the shimmering “Kaleidoscope,” blossoming under jazz pianist Brad Mehldau.