It probably wasn’t intentional, but in the midst of Cory Williams’ second full length album Bird Mouth - a quirkily titled but deeply emotional, wildly mood-swinging album described in its promo materials as “a love letter and a eulogy to love lost – the Austin based singer/songwriter creates the perfect anthem for the post pandemic, non-socially distanced world we are thankfully (so far!) emerging into.
His cheerful, playfully grooving and soaring/jangling tune “Josephine House” is ostensibly a hopeful personal story about opening up to each other (and new love) on a first date. But the timing of its release gives the line “It’s going down at the Josephine House/With the people all around” an impact that expands that hope for a new reality even further. That sense of optimism brims throughout, sort of making the “eulogy” concept a celebration of love more than a mournful thing.
Case in point: the dreamy light funk flow of “I Hope You Do,” a pop-rocker that artfully fuses confidence and vulnerability amidst the development of fresh romance. And then, by title alone but also in its folksy Americana singalong vibe and sweet baptismal narrative, “Begin Again” invites us to see redemption in action: “I left my head in the river/And my hearts in my hands/All is forgiven/So let’s begin again.” And even the mystical ballad “Throw It At the World,” an earnest song about the physical death of a parent, finds Williams allowing sweet memories of embracing life to fill in the painful empty spaces.
All of that hope seems a bit far off when Williams opens the set with the stark and super sad vocal harmony driven opener “Foolish Reminder,” which is literally about chasing a lost first love throughout all the relationships of one’s life. His pain is raw and real, but by providing some song notes, he blesses us with an update and happy ending. After 25 years of loving from way too far, he and his beloved ended up reconnecting and are now engaged. Not sure what “Bird Mouth” means, but if Williams came up with it, I’m sure it’s a sign of hard won wisdom and the sweetness life can always bring.