Song Premiere: The Sweater Set’s “Dawn Chorus”

Listen & Watch Song Premieres

Americana Highways brings you this premiere of folk duo the Sweater Set’s song “Dawn Chorus” from their forthcoming album Fly on the Wall due out on May 8 on Local Woman Records. Fly on the Wall was recorded live in front of an audience at Tonal Park in Takoma Park, MD on April 2018. It was recorded and mixed by Don Godwin and mastered by Charlie Pilzer (Tonal Park). All songs by the Sweater Set members Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin.

Folk music is at its best when it helps uplift the listener in a deeper sense, and the Sweater Set has lavishly honed that ability on Fly on the Wall.

I first came across the phrase “dawn chorus” in the novel “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon. It describes the moment when birds start to sing at the beginning of a new day. This is the only song in my entire catalog that has taken a decade to complete. It began as a little seed when I was living in Brooklyn in my early 20s, staying up really late, sometimes going to bed when the sun was just coming up. That was the inspiration behind the first verse. The dawn chorus was annoying me! As I matured and found myself with more real adult responsibilities, I found that the “dawn chorus” to me became more symbolic. It was the bell of creativity that kept ringing and pushing me forward even when I was feeling tired and overworked. That was when I rewrote the second verse. The specific arrangement for the song the way you hear it on the album only developed when Maureen and I came together to prepare our performance for this recording. The birdsong starts out as the flute and then takes flight in a more persistent rhythm in her higher picked guitar part. 

As a mother of young twins I have had a different relationship with the dark moments before sunrise, both literally and metaphorically. After going through months of middle of the night feedings and pumping and often despair, I now resonate more with the hopefulness of the song. In the first weeks after my babies were born, I remember feeling so relieved when I could finally see the first signs of the sunrise every morning. Now when I sing the song, I feel the promise of a new day and the freedom to move forward. — Sara Curtin

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