Blind Pilot‘s Israel Nebeker turns loss into inspiration on its new album ‘And Then Like Lions’ (ATO Records) out August 12. Written and composed by Nebeker over the course of three years, the record is a transcendent, cathartic response to the loss of his father and end of a 13-year relationship. ‘Lions’ is Blind Pilot’s most exhilarating album to date, a lush 10-song collection that is resilient, uplifting and often majestic in the face of tragedy. Blind Pilot teamed up with producer Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Neko Case, My Morning Jacket) and the album was mixed by Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Kurt Vile). They completed the record at Nebeker’s studio on Oregon’s north coast, in the town of Astoria.
“Umpqua Rushing” was the first song written for the album, Israel’s reflection on the end of a 13-year relationship. The Umpqua River in Oregon holds memory for him, and becomes a metaphor for the pulling current of his relationship. Much of the songwriting took place after Israel’s father was diagnosed with cancer. “Seeing Is Believing” was written as a song of encouragement for his dad as he was battling sickness and Israel moved home to help him. Says Israel, “I think of this album as a conversation about different kinds of loss and the courage we find when we face loss honestly, cracked open and unsure of what we will become. Which is the only real way to face it.”
After his father died, Israel wrote “Like Lions,” which would become the album’s finale. The title comes from a story about Israel’s nephews, who stood up to a bully by “standing like lions,” as they told it. Lions play a central role on the album; Israel’s father painted the lion flag on the album cover as a boyhood gift to his son. Israel shared “Joik #3” from the record with NPR’s All Things Considered over Thanksgiving. A joik is a “song” in the Sami (an indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic) tradition, Israel’s paternal heritage.
Blind Pilot has performed on Ellen and The Late Show with David Letterman, at the Newport Folk Festival, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza. The group has shared stages with The Shins, Andrew Bird, Calexico and more. The project began in 2007 when Israel and co-founding member Ryan Dobrowski went on a West Coast tour via bicycle. Blind Pilot’s six members recorded for this new album and will tour this summer and fall, with an extensive run being announced soon.
Blind Pilot’s new record, ‘And Then Like Lions’ will be available through PledgeMusic as the Deluxe Pre-order, with items available exclusively via the band’s PledgeMusic campaign. These items include signed CD and vinyl, one of a kind lyric sheets, and deluxe bundles.
Fans who pre-order will receive an AccessPass, which will give fans access to exclusive behind the scenes videos, news and announcements and first listens to songs. To make a pledge, please visit: pledgemusic.com/blindpilot
1. Umpqua Rushing
2. Joik #3
3. Moon At Dawn
4. Packed Powder
5. Don’t Doubt
6. Seeing is Believing
7. Which Side I’m On
8. It Was Enough
9. What Is Yet