Lord Dog Bird is the solo project of Colin McCann, former player in Baltimore's Wilderness. If the track below, “Two Shimmering Stone,” feels woodsian and rustic, it's partially due to McCann's move to the actual wilderness of Northern California after the dissolution of his B-more based post punk band.
Lord Bird Dog's The Trinity Knot incants to the goddess of nature, the pump organ droning in funereal lament to the remnants of modernity. On “Two Shimmering Stone” McCann is boundless in his ode. Initially the record, which is constructed entirely from McCann's indelible vocals and a lone pump organ, can feel too far beyond the parameters of indie music, particularly relating to the track record of Moon Glyph, but let it breathe and it will sync to your bodily rhythm in mantric harmony. The minimalism of the record is reflected in McCann's lifestyle in Northern California. While he has embraced the backwoods sanctuary of his new home, he maintains an email account and was able to answer a few questions about his life after Wilderness and life in the wilderness.
What were some of the factors that led to leaving Wilderness and Baltimore to live in the mountains of Northern California?
Wilderness had already been dissolved by the time I left Baltimore. That was the natural course that our lives were taking. The fact that our band was no longer part of my daily life was a big factor in leaving. We were a pretty hard working band and I am someone who requires work, a creative outlet, to stay happy and sane. We were all graced with that opportunity for over a decade; working hard trying to recreate some of the beauty and bewilderment we were experiencing in this word, together with our dearest friends.
It was really a glorious time. It turned out that the dissolution of Wilderness coincided with the alignment of all things in my life, both spiritual and physical, moving toward massive upheaval and change. Leaving the great city of Baltimore seemed like the right thing to do, so I sold my old house, got rid of all my superfluous belongings, bought a little pick-up and headed west with my partner. We did not necessarily have a landing place in mind, but for as long as I can remember I've dreamed of living in the woods, in the mountains. After a couple of months of living in the truck around the American West we came to this area where we now live to visit some dear friends who had made their home here. It felt right and we have never left.
You work as a carpenter. Were you doing much carpentry before you moved to Northern CA? When did the trade come into your life?
Very little. I was around it a lot, worked on renovating a few old houses around Baltimore. I had a few jobs as a helper to friends who were accomplished carpenters. I picked up what I could. Mainly I learned what I know building our little mountain homestead with my wife. WIth every little building that went up things got easier and less mystified. We found a lot of joy in making things look right. Eventually someone saw our place and gave us a paying job. With that came another job. Years later it has become our vocation and lifeblood.
The album The Trinity Knot is described as a “mantric prayer… a refuge in an age of total surveillance.” Did any of the modern conditions in Baltimore cause you seek the reclusive life in the mountains? Living there do you feel safe from this condition of total surveillance?
Perhaps. I'm not too sure. I left there over five years ago. This record was made recently though, here in the woods, and indeed I do not feel safe from this condition. The disillusionment of this realization is a one of the major themes running through the songs.
Describe your daily routine up there? If someone had an interest in the area… what would be, in your experience, the pros and cons of living there?
I get up early. Make coffee. When the weather is favorable we go to work. We work all the time. When we are not working for others we work on our own projects at home. I cut firewood. At night we play music. If someone is interested in the area they should see it for themselves. It is a place of great natural beauty and space. It's not a utopia. The winters can be hard and isolating. There is a good chance at least one of your neighbors will wish to do you harm.
Do you miss being part of a music community like Baltimore or are you at peace in Northern California?
I am at peace here. I still feel part of some sort of universal music community.
Also is there any open mics or gathering of musicians up there, a smaller community, that you take part in?
There are some good shows and open mics that happen at the local coffee shop/ bar. I take part a few times a year. Mostly I stay home.
Lord Dog Bird's The Trinity Knot is out now on Moon Glyph.