After wildfires ripped through the mountainous forests near her home in eastern Spain, Wendy McNeill was struck by the silence that came after. Sure, there was wind through the remaining charred pines, or insects buzzing in the undergrowth — but she missed the birdsong that previously infused the air around her. So McNeill did what she’s done for more than two decades: fill in the silence with music that’s part quirky, part mythic and wholly mesmerizing. Her new album, First There Were Feathers, blends her jazzy spoken word with her “folk noir” fusion of textures natural and urban. Always in the forefront is the accordion that has brought a cabaret vibe to her music throughout her past career junctures in Edmonton and Stockholm. Her darkly atmospheric storytelling, though, remains a constant of Wendy McNeill’s sound. As with natural regeneration after forest fires, something beautiful and fresh emerges anew.
Biography by Jason Markusoff