From Great Lakes to Cascadia

Gallowbird is the studio project of Michael Rivérun. The project has been based in Anacortes and Seattle, WA, as well as Madison, WI.  

Early 2014 saw the release of the debut album, The Driftless Adrift, a fusion of folk and a dark ambient pop. Utilizing organic instrumentation and rich vocal layering, it is at times haunting, at others roots infused. Its namesake pays homage to a part of the upper Midwest where the songwriter spent his formative years.

The Driftless Area is a place that resonates deeply with me; the deep river valleys, forests and sprawling fields are ingrained into my everyday consciousness, despite the miles between. It was in this place that I really fell in love with the natural world and the changing of the seasons. I kind of see myself as Driftless, the people I know and love from that area, as Driftless too. I guess it's like a term of endearment. And perhaps this seemingly never ending journey of self discovery we are all on, as being 'Adrift.'”

This journey would take him all over the country but mostly, the Northwest, and ultimately to his current home of Anacortes.

The upper Midwest will always be my home, the Northwest will always be my adventure. Although I have to say, as of late, it too feels like home”

Before making this album, Rivérun had stopped playing music almost altogether for nearly three years, spending most every moment exploring his other great passion of the natural world – reestablishing a connection with a lost part of himself. It was this that eventually led him back to the wellspring of his creativity.

The Driftless Adrift is the result. It is the story of a journey and the observations therein.

Of the closing track, Vishnus Trumpet write:

When I first listened to it [Peroration] I wondered why it wasn’t earlier in the track list, like the 3rd or 4th track to hook audiences. But this is an album, intended to be listened to all the way through, and “Peroration” is the appropriate end-- a really, really good track.

And these words are true. “The Driftless Adrift” is an album intended to be listened to all the way through. This is a collection of songs informed by the tradition of folk, yet relies on a hushed pop sensibility. It is an album that speaks equally of loss and beauty. It is an album that fuses the grit and beauty of the rust belt upper Midwest with the majesty of the pacific Northwest.