The Stray Birds experienced several firsts while recording their new Yep Roc Records album Magic Fire. It was their first project with an outside producer, their first recording with venerable guest musicians, and first truly collaborative songwriting effort. It's also an album of mosts: the most exciting and engaging music they've ever composed paired with their most outspoken and insightful lyrics yet.
When it came time to record Magic Fire, The Stray Birds knew they were ready to take an ambitious step. They retreated to Milan Hill, NY, a small town outside of Woodstock in the Hudson River Valley, and teamed up with three-time Grammy Award-winning producer Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson) and his preferred engineer, Justin Guip (another three-time Grammy-winner who worked with the late Helm), and the group spent ten days together exploring and creating the music that would become Magic Fire. The album demonstrates the group's remarkable growth as songwriters and performers, with countless nights on the road across the US and Europe sharpening their senses and honing their keen understanding of each other's strengths.
"Third Day In A Row" is a laid-back slice of infectious Americana that showcases the band's rich harmonies; while "Hands Of Man" is a dark, Appalachian-influenced tune completed during the recording sessions in Milan Hill. "Where You Come From" marks Charles Muench's first complete songwriting contribution to an album, while "Shining In The Distance" is a collaboration with fellow songwriter Lindsay Lou that grew out of Maya and Oliver's move to Nashville, and "When I Die" features a verse written by new collaborator Shane Leonard (live versions of the song include a variety of additional verses contributed by peers and tour-mates like Mandolin Orange, Miss Tess, Jordie Lane, and Cahalen Morrison & Eli West).