Bow is the third album from Two Dark Birds, the critically acclaimed band from Pakatakan Mountain in The Catskills. Bow is a cycle of songs about openings and awakenings, about the spirit of nature and the nature of spirit.
Recorded in Woodstock, NY with Chris Maxwell, Bow was written and performed by Steve Koester with the assistance of a group of Catskill musicians, including Jeff Lipstein (Lia Ices), Josh Roy Brown, Marco Benevento, Carrie Bradley (The Breeders), Sibel Finn (Silver Jews), Don Piper and Jason Mills.
Prior to Two Dark Birds, Koester also fronted the bands Maplewood, Koester & Punchdrunk, who altogether released eleven critically-acclaimed albums and toured extensively throughout the US and Europe. The music has been called "knockout gorgeous" and "timeless. . . great rock music" and has received glowing reviews everywhere from Fader and Nylon to The Village Voice and The NY Times, showing up on year-end "Best" lists in Magnet, Popmatters, Rhapsody, Disclaimer and more. Koester has also written, recorded and produced a wide variety of songs for film and TV.
FROM THE LINER NOTES
About four years ago, I had an odd experience that changed my life. I was walking through the woods on Pakatakan Mountain, the mountain on which I lived, on a hike I’d done daily for years. There was nothing extraordinary about this particular day. I mean, it was beautiful — the sunlight flitting through the bright green early June ash, last fall’s browned leaves crumbling under foot, moss-covered shale poking through the dirt, dried hemlock branches littering the path. I was descending the slope, on the last bit of my loop, when I stopped to catch my breath. And that’s when the extraordinary thing happened — something that’s very hard to explain. Something that was like an opening, or like a pause in time — a fermata. I felt the infinite reach of time in that very moment. Something about the ferns stretching out on the mountain side below seemed at once incredibly ancient and vividly now. I could feel everything that had been in that spot in the eons before me — the settlers who had first put up houses there, the Lenape before them, back to the dinosaurs, and all the way back to when this forest had sat on the bottom of a sea. All at once. The infinite now had opened it’s doors and I had — for the first time, or maybe the first time since I was a kid —walked through.
This is really a pretty poor explanation of what happened, I realize. Prose can’t really describe it accurately and song probably can’t either. BUT, since I’m a songwriter and I process the world through writing little tunes, I wrote "White Birch" as an attempt to get at the heart of this feeling, using a little story about a guy named Dave. A guy probably a lot like me but also maybe a bit like you, I don't know.
This moment, in some ways, was the launching point for the next several years of my life and for the rest of the songs on the album. It set up a trajectory, an exploration. Bow is a cycle of songs about openings & awakenings, and “White Birch” sits at the center. - Steve Koester