Seth Glier (pronounced “Gleer”) recorded his new album, Birds, in an airy loft in western Massachusetts outfitted with a grand piano and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Birds roost just outside those windows, on the roof of the converted mill building where he lives, and they became his sympathetic audience while Glier made the album. Birds is steeped in conflict and contradictions - there’s grief and loss, but also strength and resilience; doubt and dismay, but also a sense of optimism as Glier confronts heavy topics and wrestles them into the daylight. The songs range from personal to political, and are bound together by the awareness that our world is a fragile place that is all the more magical for it. Birds is Glier’s latest album in a burgeoning career that has included a Grammy nomination and touring with artists such as Ani DiFranco, Ronnie Spector and Ryan Adams. It began taking shape after Glier lost his brother, Jamie, who died in October 2015, and inspired a TED Talk performance that Glier gave in 2016. After embracing his pop side on If I Could Change One Thing, Glier made Birds without concern for the benchmarks of pop success and all the attendant distractions. “I wanted something that was going to feel singular, and even if no one hears this, I’m still really proud of it,” he says.