If I were an indie filmmaker with an introspective rom-com/road movie nearly in the can, I'd get Bird City to do the soundtrack. Since I first got a hold of their new record, I've been picturing scene after scene of an imaginary film unfolding with each song. Winnowing has that feel to it.
Bird City is the latest of Guelph, ON scene staple Jenny Mitchell's many musical projects. A solo album three years in the making, and a considerable collaboration with engineer and producer Scott Merritt, Winnowing combines Mitchell's songwriting, sparse tenor banjo and tenor guitar playing and disaffected, almost conversational singing style with the perfect amount of drums, bass and other assorted instrumentation (horns, lap steel, organ, vibraphone, and hurdy-gurdy). The resulting mix is a full yet spacious sound, testament to both Mitchell's writing and Merritt's production chops.
Each Bird City song is a stand-alone story capturing the big emotions of small moments, from cliché-battling dating song "A Bit Part," to the heartbreaking adjustments of motherhood in "Growing Too," to "A Band End," which details the unraveling of a band on the road, shedding a musician with every verse. "Feel it in the Dark" combines the energy and drive of a pop single with a folk songwriter's sensibility, making it the uncontested earworm of the album, but Winnowing also has a remarkably coherent sound, and is best appreciated as a whole. (Coax)