“Oh, Lord, can you hear it / The American Spirit,” is the cry from Nashville’s own Drumming Bird.
The indie rock artist released their latest single, “American Spirits,” yesterday, May 19th. The track packs many pressing themes into a mere four minutes: religion, losing a loved one, oppression, and, of course, a few lines about smoking cigarettes.
Austin Sawyer, singer-songwriter and face of Drumming Bird, is a 23-year-old force in the Nashville independent scene. Tracks from their second album, Ocoee, landed consistently on radio stations in 2020, and after gaining traction from the album, they were named Local Artist of the Week on Nashville’s Lightning 100. The band has shared their sound all around Music City, including spots like The Basement and The East Room. Last year, their song, “Second Best” was featured on an episode of the long-running series Shameless.
The single is a hymn-like commentary on the contradiction of American culture. The verses are confessions, and the chorus is an anthemic pledge. “I don’t wanna go near it / The American Spirit,” he states, giving a feeling of repulsion toward the culture that is being created in modern-day America- this as well as a distaste for the historical events that have happened on our soil.
The repetitive melodic quality really allows the listener to focus on the weight of the lyrics. The vocals take a momentary pause in a haunting interlude to pause in reflection, where a cello is featured. The low-key production – a contrast to Drumming Bird’s typical sound of twangy guitars and upbeat drums – leaves room for silence and contemplation.
“American Spirits” is the title track from Drumming Bird’s upcoming EP, due out later this year. He is also the special guest featured on Daniel Nunnelee’s upcoming nationwide tour which begins later this May.
Photos by Hannah Hall