Number 22 on my countdown of Top 40 albums is ‘Til We See the Shore by Seabird.
Sunday, May 17, 2009: Me, my then girlfriend now wife Catey, and Catey’s parents drove to Asheville, NC to see Jars of Clay at The Orange Peel. Jars of Clay was touring their new album The Long Fall Back to Earth and apparently some band from Kentucky called Seabird was opening for them. Jars of Clay is Catey’s favorite band, so we arrived well before the doors opened to obtain a prime position at this SRO General Admission venue. Catey’s parents told feverishly excited 17 and 18 year old me and Catey that they would catch up with us after the show as the two of us pushed our way to the front row. After a long hour of standing in place on an uneven hardwood floor, Seabird walked on stage. The keyboardist and lead singer, Aaron Morgan, without addressing the audience began to play some introductory chords. Most rock groups start of a show with a bang, but this was quite different. Morgan sat silently at his keyboard playing melancholy chords in C minor in dim lighting. He brought his face to the microphone and began to sing, only to find the sound guys had not turned on the vocal mics. The performance came to a brief halt, and after a few chuckles from the band and audience, the song began once again. Even despite the hiccup, the mood was set, and it was absolutely encapsulating, as Seabird performed the title track from their debut album ‘Til We See the Shore.
Needless to say, I was intrigued. Any artist that you have never heard of before who can pull you in nearly instantaneously is remarkable. The set continued, and I remember the exact moment I was sold that this group was the real deal. At the 59 second mark of what I later discovered to be the opening track to ‘Til We See the Shore called “Black and Blue.”
Catey and I weren’t the only ones enthralled by this group. We found out after the show that immediately after Seabird had finished their set, Catey’s Dad, Simon, bought the album from the merchandise table. We actually listened to it on the way home after the concert, and we have been listening to it over and over again since then.
‘Til We See the Shore is packed with fantastic songs and is home to the most successful piano rock sound I have had the pleasure of hearing. Among its ranks are one of the best pop songs of the 21st century entitled “Rescue” and one of my absolute favorite songs of all time entitled “Cottonmouth (Jargon).”
Seabird left such an impression on me at that concert. Jars of Clay went on to perform a great set as well, but I will always be struck by that incredible musical first impression that Seabird left on me. I will remember that night forever, and thankfully I have an incredible album to support those memories.
There you have it! Number 22 on my top 40 album countdown! I know I promised this post on Thursday of last week and I apologize that it is a few days late. I thought I would have time to write it between my various morning responsibilities and going to see Weird Al Yancovic at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, but, alas I did not. And yes, the Weird Al show was fantastic! You can look for number 21 on the countdown either tomorrow or Wednesday. Interestingly, number 21 is actually a Jars of Clay album, so be sure to tune back in for that!
Number 21 will mark the halfway point through this countdown of albums! In case you are interested in the others that have been honored so far, here are the links!
25. Queen by Queen
Thanks for tuning in, and be sure to check back in the next couple days for number 21!