Emerging from behind the drumkit is esteemed musician Kyle Crane, who has just released his self-titled debut album and project under the moniker Crane Like The Bird. Crane is well-known for touring with artists such as Niko Case and M. Ward, as well as being behind the drum parts for the Academy Award-winning film Whiplash. Perhaps Crane is best known, though, for his work with the legendary Canadian producer Daniel Lanois, most recognized for his work with U2, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel and dozens of others.
Crane Like The Bird, the album (grab a copy here), is a look back of sorts on Crane’s life, telling the story of the time leading up to his Coast Guard lieutenant father’s death in a helicopter crash in 1997 and the aftermath that ensued. The album cover is a photo of his mother at the site of the crash on the cliffs of Mendocino throwing a rose into the sea. With such a deep and interesting concept behind the recording, we felt Kyle would be perfect to offer us a rundown of the meaning behind each track on his debut studio recording.
01. “Wishing Cap”
– When I would visit my grandparents I would stay in my father’s old room that he grew up in. One time I was rummaging through the closet and I found an old shoebox with letters and an old green baseball cap in the closet. I thought “what if I put this hat on and it gives me special powers and I can climb through that old photo on the wall and be transported to the past.”
Here’s the band’s scenic and animated music video for “Wishing Cap.”
– I wrote this song to be just one sentence/statement to contrast some of the more lyrically dense tunes on the album. My first time in Paris, I was there to play a show with Daniel Lanois and I had about four hours total to walk around and see the city. I was so jet-lagged it took every ounce of will power for me to get out rather than just sinking into my bed. I told myself “now” and walked over to Montmartre and sat on top of the hill and gazed out at the city for the first time.
I play a combination of steel drum and glockenspiel on this tune to imitate the carousel I passed by on the way. The end of the tune I’m playing vibraphone to imitate that sleep-deprived state. It begins to fade as if I’m starting to doze off lying on that grassy hill.
– This song is about honoring my sister. She is a very strong woman who has been through a lot. She got pregnant in high school and became a single mother when the father died of a drug overdose. The chorus takes us back to simpler times.
The album Crane Like The Bird was released on January 18th, 2019.
04. “Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park”
– This is my best attempt at a soundtrack for the time I spent visiting Grizzly Creek with my family from ‘94-‘97. I found an arrowhead while walking along the creek one year and I remember the magic I felt while I held it and ran my fingers across its edges.
– In 1997 my father and his helicopter crew died while attempting to save some fishermen off the coast of Mendocino. On the anniversary of their death, I went back to Mendocino with my mom, sister, and the wife of my father’s co-pilot. We stood on a cliff, said a few words, and threw roses out into the water. I told my mother on the drive back that when I die I want my ashes to be tossed off that cliff.
06. “When I See”
– The verses on this song are about a snowboard trip I took with my father where we were stuck on the mountain due to a snowstorm. I think a lot of us hold on to the idea that we will see our loved ones again when we pass on. If I’m 90 years old when I die and my father was 35 when he passed what will that meeting look like? Will I see my father as a young man in his prime, or will I transform back into that ten-year-old kid sitting shotgun in an Isuzu Trooper on the way to the mountain?
Check out “Glass Half Full” for yourself!
– This song is about how we never truly know someone. I had a dream that I looked inside the vessels of a stranger’s heart and the vessels were all elevator shafts and when I looked down one of the elevator shafts it was all dark except for a light that turned on a few floors down. That’s about as much as I was able to see inside this person’s heart. Who knows what is on that floor or any other floor for that matter. I asked Sabina to read my dream in French because I thought it would support the mystery I was trying to portray. Brad Mehldau’s playing perfectly supported the feeling as well.
08. “Glass Half Full”
– This song is about someone who continues to see the bright side in life rather than be torn down by their struggles. I imagine a bull getting stabbed by a bullfighter and surviving, or a spool of wire being shot but it missed its core and grazed the wire. This song features two of my all-time favorite guitarists Brian Green and Kurt Rosenwinkel. The bridge of the song Peter Morén is singing in Swedish “held it up to the light” as if the glass half full is being held up to the sun and you can see all the beautiful streams of light shining through.
09. “The Painter”
– I had to end this record on a positive note because much of this record was dealing with the hardships my family went through. This song is about my mom who is an artist in a lyrical and metaphorical sense. I think of mothers as artists who sculpt their children’s lives into a living breathing work of art. My mom had to make a lot of sacrifices in order to raise my sister and me. She took on twice the workload when our dad passed away and I owe everything to her. I arranged the ending to have a triumphant feeling and support the feeling of victory.