Jerrold Ridenour, also-known-as King Nobody, has truly captured the sound of the desert on new single ‘Three Birds’. The combination of cigar box guitar, a strong bass line and looping beats by Saul Good give the listener a sense of the unrelenting, intense heat and dusty atmosphere of that harshest of environments. Ridenour’s characterful, almost-spoken vocal contrasts brilliantly with the soaring voice of Sabrina Rose for a chorus that flies right up there with the birds of the song.
Ridenour explains: “Three Birds’ tells a story of self-discovery amidst the adventure and migration of life.” Its fascinating lyrics certainly have the feel of an allegory, an abstract metaphoric tale with layers of meaning. The accompanying video, filmed on a desert ranch, grows out of the song and reflects the importance of the visuals to Ridenour, who says: “I write a song so that I have something to make a music video for. I’m trying to get at the heart of something where the song is not just a by-product of the music video, but certainly contingent upon it.”
He goes on to describe the song-writing experience: “‘Three Birds’ was a pandemic-induced creative moment where I was wanting a different voicing to my songs. I had worked exclusively with the power trio of Bass, Guitar and drums for EVERYTHING under the King Nobody moniker, prior to this track.
I had bought a cheap Cigar Box guitar and rebuilt it to my specs, but the pickup was pretty weak-sauce. Enter into the equation: A cassette tape recorder Walkman I had picked up at a thrift store that worked perfect as well as some blank tapes. I had recently watched a Rolling Stones doc and really held on to Keith Richards talking about how for some of their recordings he would play acoustic guitar into Walkman and the recorded tone was AMAZEBALLS! Well, if it’s good enough for Keith, it’ll do just fine for King Nobody. So plop went the recorder and Chung, chunga chung, out came the ‘Three Birds’ riff.
At that point, it was a session with another frequent collaborator Matt Burke (AKA Saul Good) that turned the riff into a loop with a sampled drum beat. The first sampled drum beat for King Nobody I might add, and began the dutiful task of arranging the riff into a song structure, adding the Bass line and other flair before laying down the vocals with a literal Tin-Can microphone. This was going to be a song with a baked-in tone for days! The lyrics were a poem I had written nearly 20 years ago and when I was skimming my writing books for an idea or a song to apply to this music, it laid itself out before me. The lyrics on the record were from the 3rd take, no editing.
Left to my own devices in the studio with the track, I played with the arrangement for a week before having Aaron Bakker lay a guitar track down. While I was mixing it in, I felt it was a little too on the nose – a little too perfect (the guitar track) – so I did a backwards masking effect and reversed the guitar… how perfectly it fit and wonderful it sounded was a sensation akin to when man had discovered fire, the wheel, beer. It was as if a miracle had happened and I was there to bear witness. It was none of that really, just a simple click of the mouse, but it felt like magic. Now what. It needed a chorus that changes the tone of the song, adds some flair and some grace to its dissonance. That’s where my good friend and first time collaborator Sabrina Rose came into the picture. Working remotely we auditioned several melodies and passes before I sliced a few takes up to create the understated yet powerful hook for the chorus. It really felt special when the backwards guitar, the drum samples, the female chorus all came into play. I felt like I had cracked a code or unlocked a secret song-writing manifesto; It was akin to bottling lightning from an artist perspective and it worked. I was drunk on creativity and I still grin with giddiness when I hear the track.”
‘Three Birds’ is the second single from the forthcoming EP ‘Space Cactus’, which promises more engrossing, obscure stories of the desert, featuring King Nobody’s distinctive psychedelic-cowboy style. We’re delighted to share the video premiere – enjoy.
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