The Orchards are the songwriting project of Pennsylvania native Eric Schwan, now based in Portland, Maine. Featuring a revolving cast of musicians from the Portland music scene, they have released four full-length albums of lyric and melody-based folk.
For “Sing Birds, In Your Shrinking Woods” Eric collaborated with Jerusha Neely (South China, Plains, Mehetable) and Jeremy Robinson (South China, Plains, Drab Pony), forming a trio of nylon string guitar, cello, accordion or electric guitar, and voices to arrange and record the songs. After weeks of cooking dinners and rehearsing together in Portland they gathered with local recording legend Caleb Mulkerin (Cerberus Shoal, Fire on Fire, Big Blood) at the Rustic Overtones space for three cold and sunny days in January of 2017 to record the songs live to tape, with friends stopping by to play organ, trombone, bells, fiddle, saxophone, and drums to form an orchestral or ambient soundscape for the narrative-driven folk songs Eric had written.
“Sing Birds, In Your Shrinking Woods” is an album of simple pleasures and small things being protected, singing through and about the dark times. Friends, family, landscapes, loves, and loss all echo through the songs, with the warmth of the tape recordings capturing their creaks and dustiness and the rich harmonies and chamber-folk arrangements acting as a balm. Taking cues from folk and rock songwriters down the years as well as ambient and experimental musicians, the album aims for an appreciation of things as they’re passing and gratitude for what’s left.