Free and legal MP3: Woodpigeon (spacey strummer becomes hoedown)

“Empty-Hall Sing-Along” – Woodpigeon

A multifaceted musical adventure awaits you here. What begins as a sort of spacey, choral Fleetwood Mac-ish strummer takes a left turn at 1:37 and reinvents itself as a western hoedown a la Poco or Pure Prairie League (reference for those of a certain age). Front man Mark Hamilton clearly likes to surround himself with musicians–Woodpigeon is a shape-shifting ensemble featuring eight semi-regulars and a dozen and a half potential guests–but here their presence is as much vocal as instrumental. If you listen carefully, you’ll discern more than the usual number of guitar and percussion sounds, yes, but what ultimately dominates the song are an unexpectedly large chorus of voices. Five of the central eight are listed as singers and while there’s no telling who exactly is singing what, what I’m liking a lot is the vibe of a group of singers singing together, which creates an entirely different feel than multi-tracked harmonies. This is a “sing-along,” after all.

Woodpigeon is based in Calgary and issued its debut album in 2006. I don’t think I can stop myself from telling you that Hamilton called his first band Woodpigeon Divided By Antelope Equals Squirrel. That was while he was living in Scotland and it didn’t apparently amount to much. “Empty-Hall Sing-Along” comes from Die Stadt Musikanten, Woodpigeon’s third album, released this week in Canada on Boompa Records; the American release will be in March. MP3 via Boompa.