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MP3 Download: Xavier Rudd, 'Spirit Bird'

Amazing story behind title track of Australian songwriter's new album

May 28, 2012 10:00 AM ET
Xavier Rudd
Xavier Rudd
James Looke

Click to listen to Xavier Rudd's 'Spirit Bird'

"Spirit Bird" is the sprawling title track from Australian singer-songwriter Xavier Rudd's seventh studio album, set to drop on June 5th. The song was constructed in two sections over the course of as many years, Rudd says. The first part came during a trip to Kimberley country in northwest Australia, where he encoutered a mob of red-tailed black cockatoos, a rare site up close.

"One old-woman spirit bird locked eyes with me," Rudd recalls, "and began to creak and groan her message of time passed and changes to her country and the fear in her heart. It was all very heavy, and as she looked through me with her eyes and passed this message I felt like I sank into the earth, and my mind was racing with imagery of things that were clear, but that I had never seen previously on my journey. Almost like I was looking through someone else's eyes with someone else's memories. That night I wrote the first half of 'Spirit Bird' in the sand on a sacred beach. It poured out of me and was quite emotional."

A few years later, Rudd had started recording, and while sitting by a lake in Canada he started plucking at the first part of the song, and the second half came right then and there. The next morning, he awoke to the news that the Australian government had taken that land at James Price Point in Kimberley. Police had forcefully removed protesters and longtime land owners from their homes so construction could begin on a proposed gas plant. "It just so happens that at the exact time as that was happening," Rudd continues, "spirit was ripping through me on the other side of the world by a fire in Canada, and the result was the completion of the song 'Spirit Bird.'" Intrigued? You can download the song here.

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