Jimbo Mathus and Andrew Bird have released “Poor Lost Souls,” the latest preview and perhaps the most poignant moment of their forthcoming album, These 13. Out March 5th on Thirty Tigers, These 13 marks the first time in more than two decades that Mathus and Bird have joined forces for a collection of music. As former collaborators in Squirrel Nut Zippers they’ve known each other for over 25 years, but since the turn of the century they’ve grown accustomed to working apart, cultivating separate careers as solo artists and prolific songwriters. “Poor Lost Souls” shows how old friends bring new perspective and possibility.
Mathus and Bird co-wrote every song on These 13 through an exchange of voice memos and verses, completing each other’s words and ideas in ways neither of them had ever experienced. Recorded live on opposite sides of a single microphone, the result is a raw and intimate conversation, and on “Poor Lost Souls” they open the album by addressing Hollywood’s homelessness crisis through two distinct points of view. Mathus begins by offering the impressions of a visitor, stunned by the situation; Bird answers from the outlook of a local, before they both come together in heartfelt harmony.
On “Poor Lost Souls,” Mathus and Bird say, “Look down and see the stars, look up and see the gold. Here’s a broken song for broken times…but there’s hope in it.”
Created over the course of 2018-2020, These 13 is about the special type of human connection that can survive any distance of time or geography. Mathus and Bird have lived many musical lives since meeting at a folk festival in the summer of 1994 – Bird working as the medieval fiddler at a midwestern renaissance fair, Mathus just beginning the whirlwind, platinum-selling ascent of Squirrel Nut Zippers.
These 13 was produced by Mike Viola at Hollywood Sound and Barebones Studio, and the accompanying album artwork was handmade by Jared Spears. “It’s been my dream for years now to make this record with Jimbo,” Andrew says. “Just guitar, fiddle and our very different voices.”