Breathe Owl Breathe wings into Mickey Finn’s PubWritten by Amy Biolchini | | ABiolchini@toledofreepress.com
Breathe Owl Breathe comes to Mickey Finn’s 9 p.m. Oct. 2 straight out of a log cabin in Michigan’s East Jordan Valley. The trio of Micah Middaugh on guitar and vocals, Andréa Moreno-Beals on cello and vocals, and percussionist Trevor Hobbs bring a flowing yet eclectic style to their storytelling alternative songs.
“We have a minimalist kind of approach to things and are getting more interested in textures and building textures,” Middaugh said. “Every night we’ll be rediscovered in a song.”
The three friends all live in a log cabin built by Middaugh’s family for his grandmother and grandfather. His grandparents have since vacated the place to allow the 20-somethings to record and create.
Its newest album “Magic Central,” released Sept. 28, is a product of winter days spent snowbound at the log cabin, when the band members were able to concentrate on processing all of their experiences from touring on the road into a creative flow of recordings.
“It was a time to really dig deep and record when you wanted to record and record when you didn’t want to record,” Middaugh said. “It’s amazing in both places what happened.”
The band has pressed two of its four and half albums to vinyl, and still records many of its parts on cassette tapes.
“We’re always inspired by the old,” Middaugh said.
Hobbs and Middaugh met through a mutual friend and roommate, and recorded an amateur VHS zombie movie the day they met. Middaugh met Moreno-Beals through a friend in a Dairy Queen parking lot in Boyne City, Mich., when he had just started a small band with Hobbs around five years ago. After recording a cassette tape together, Hobbs and Middaugh invited Moreno-Beals back to play a festival. They continued to write songs and compiled “Fall Album” that autumn. Hobbs and Moreno-Beals slowly migrated back to Middaugh’s cabin to continue recording.
“We recorded on this little 16 track that I have — the bones of the songs, and brought them down to outside of Ann Arbor to Jim Roll’s studio,” Middaugh said. “It sounds like swimming. We enjoy not really pinning down any ‘label’ or specific sound. A lot of times I’ll go for a run and a couple lines will come to me, and then make a song out of it.”
Breathe Owl Breathe got its name out of a vivid dream Middaugh had of a field mouse and an owl the night before the band was surprised with their first show. It opened for Little Wings at DAC in Grand Rapids.
“It was the most amazing first show we could possibly have,” Middaugh said.
Middaugh, who is also a printmaker, is turning two of the songs he wrote and recorded with Roll into children’s books. “The Listeners,” about a mole and an ostrich, and “These Train Tracks,” about train tracks that turn into a ladder, will be turned into hardcover, hand-bound books featuring Middaugh’s woodcut illustrations. Middaugh is collaborating with world-famous book binder Chad Pastotnik of Deep Wood Press. Each copy of the painstakingly hand-stitched book will include a 7-inch vinyl record in the middle, Middaugh said.
For more information on the Oct. 2 show, call Mickey Finn’s at (419) 246-3466.