Music

Andrew Bird Previews Holiday Album 'Hark!' With Cover of John Cale's 'Andalucia'

Andrew Bird has shared a cover of John Cale’s “Andalucia,” from his upcoming holiday album, Hark! out October 30th via Loma Vista.

“Andalucia,” a standout from Cale’s 1973 album, Paris 1919, is a devastating tune about deep yearning, which Bird recasts around the delicate pluck of his mandolin and fleshes out with lush choral vocals. Bird’s cover arrives with a video featuring some lovely and surreal silhouette animation by Abigail Portner.

Hark! is a follow-up to Bird’s 2019 EP of the same name. The LP will feature a handful of originals alongside takes on holiday classics and covers of songs like “Andalucia” that aren’t necessarily about the holiday season but fit Bird’s lone criteria: “A passing reference to wintertime sentiment is all it takes to make the cut on Hark!” he said in a statement.

Other covers in that vein include John Prine’s “Souvenirs,” and a rendition of the Handsome Family’s “So Much Wine,” which Bird remade as “Greenwine.” There will also be takes on “Oh Holy Night,” “White Christmas,” “Christmas Is Coming” and “Auld Lang Syne.” Meanwhile, one of the originals, “Christmas in April,” was penned during the first peak of the coronavirus pandemic, when Bird found himself fixated on the question of whether people would be able to get together for the holidays.

“Let’s not talk about the dubious motives that might lead an artist to make a holiday record,” Bird said. “It’s a complicated relationship many of us have with the holidays and the requisite music we hear. So let’s admit that it’s a utilitarian thing. The music is just one contributing factor to our communal or solitary joy and melancholy. As a musician, it’s an excuse to take a break from writing the next record and indulge in an unapologetically nostalgic exercise.”

While the digital version of Hark! will arrive October 30th, a special red-colored vinyl edition — which will come with paper sheet inserts of 12 birds that fans can hang as ornaments — will be released November 13th. Both are available to preorder.

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