For those of us lucky enough to have a backyard or a front stoop, the natural world provides a much-needed break from worries that come during the time of coronavirus. Listening to the birds this morning, I felt grateful for their melodic song, which interrupted the bleak drone of CNN. So when Stephanie Seymour and her husband, Bob Perry, shared their new video (see below) of Seymour’s song “Violet-crowned Hummingbird” from her gorgeous album, There Are Birds, I felt her message aligned with my view that nature is a great antidote to coronavirus stress.
Shot in her home where she is nesting with Perry (who produced There Are Birds), she sings with great empathy for the violet-crowned humming bird and relates her own circumstances to the plight of the bird. There’s a purity to her message and an interesting emotional element to envisioning the bird in flight, struggling.
“Violet-crowned hummingbird, spread your wings and fly/Violet-crowned Hummingbird, strong will to survive/It’s been a long, long, long, long road for you and I/It takes a lot of wind from your sails just to live within this world and prevail,” Seymour sings.
Seymour has been an avid birdwatcher since 2004, and There Are Birds combines her passion for music with her her passion for birds. Each song on the album is named after a bird, except for the final one, “Migration Is Over.” “My love of birds and the natural world is what supports me though my most challenging times,” she said in her bio.
She added this week: “This song is about trying to dig myself out of the rabbit hole of anxiety and depression when I feel hopeless. I think it’s especially relevant now as we all must become more isolated within our own confines, both physically and mentally. Hopefully we can find some solace in nature.”
At 23, Seymour joined the all-female New York power pop-rock band The Aquanettas as a drummer. Later she provided back-up vocals and percussion for Psychic Penguin and then formed her own band, Birdy, releasing the albums Supernominal Paraphernalia (1999) and Quarantine (2002) on the Cropduster label. During this time she met Perry, married him and moved out of the city and to Ringwood, where birds fly in abundance.
In addition to playing music, Seymour works as a medical editor and takes time off from work in the spring and fall to study birds in migration.
There Are Birds features Perry, Charlie Giordano (E Street Band), Sim Cain (Rollins Band, Marc Ribot), James Mastro (Ian Hunter’s Rant Band, The Bongos) and others. Perry, who plays guitar and keyboards on the album, is also a singer-songwriter who has released two albums, American Standarsdville and Light Fuse, Run Away, on Cropduster. He also played guitar for the band Winter Hours, and he and Seymour and Perry occasionally join Edward Rogers’ band.
To support Perry, visit bobperry.bandcamp.com/releases.
NJArts.net’s Songs to See Us Through series is designed to spotlight songs relevant to the coronavirus crisis and encourage readers to support the artists who made them (and won’t be able to generate income via concerts at this time). Click here for links to all songs in the series.
We encourage artists to email us submissions (newly recorded, if possible) at email@example.com. Please include links to sites such as Patreon and Venmo. Readers can also make suggestions via that email address.
We need your help!
CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET
Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.