Meadowlark – Family Tree

Male Western Meadowlarks have a complex, two-phrase “primary” song that begins with 1–6 pure whistles and descends to a series of 1–5 gurgling warbles.’ –

Outside, the birds are singing a beautiful song. But, I put my headphones on so that I can mute out their sound and listen to music by a band named after a bird.

Meadowlark have just announced that their first EP, ‘Three Six Five’, is going to have a release date in May and that it’s available for pre-release now. They’ve also just uploaded a new version of ‘Family Tree’, their track that went viral last year, to Soundcloud. 

Going viral is all well and good but I’d not heard of Meadowlark until last night. Hailing from Plymouth, this trio appear to have formed out of the remnants of singer, Kate McGill’s, previous Youtube career. She was able to generate much traffic by providing interesting cover versions of hits. If there was a television programme on Channel 5 listing the top 50 youtube artists you’ve never heard of based on clicks they’d had, Kate would be straight in at number 19. Josh Widdecombe would probably be the celebrity endorser. 

But I’m digressing. Kate McGill is no Sandi Thom (thankfully) and this release of ‘Family Tree’ isn’t half bad. I’d love to say that it begins with 1-6 pure whistles and descends to 1-5 gurgling warbles but in truth it’s better than that. Startling gently and with Kate’s voice to the fore, this song seems to be about getting stuff done and taking your chances in your twenties rather than having a mid-life crisis. It’s also about the chance,serendipity and complexities of family life. It’s Kate’s own version of ‘Sliding Doors’ told in song. As the song develops it gets busier and more cluttered. Strings come to the fore as ‘Family Tree’ builds to a climax. 

It’s a good, strong popular song. 

I notice that Meadowlark are playing a special one-off show this Friday in Leicester at the lovely Cookie Jar venue. I have to say that on the evidence of this song I’m keen to go to see what the warble is about, if only to ask how Kate got all of those Youtube hits. A longer flight follows in a May.


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