EXCLUSIVE - Song Introduction: Robert Taira Wilson - Blackbird
In a rare show of restraint, Wilson trades in his signature stringed acrobatics and rhythm trickery for a more tender and euphonious effort. With Blackbird, his guitar-work seemingly takes the back seat, allowing his wonderfully sobering voice to take the wheel. In the past, on songs that might be considered fully-fledged displays of power and prowess, Robert’s voice often has a very subtle smoky element lingering beneath a seemingly innocent choir boy-like innocence. This time blackened smoke turns to soft white clouds, as he treats us to his most sublimely delicate singing to date.
But ever the artist, Blackbird is not a simple ballad of escape, or love lost or whatever ballads are often about. That would be too easy for Robert. Blackbird is endowed with several somber yet uplifting key changes that defy expectation. We are all familiar with the hype-monger key changes often featured in pop songs or musical numbers that are indicative of some kind of empowerment. Instead, Robert’s key changes are momentarily wretched and tragic, but are soon relieved by his blue sky melodies as he beckons the Blackbird take him.
This song may feel uncharacteristic of Robert due to its subdued nature, but I estimate this pseudo-orchestral piece crafted with the most minimal setup possible is a step for Robert towards something much grander. I can’t promise that you will feel even an ounce of relief or that you will ascend to the heavens on feathered wings while listening to Blackbird. What I can promise is that Blackbird is two and a half minutes of gorgeously rich music that you will not regret welcoming into your life, and if that isn’t enough to brighten your day then you should probably try listening to the rest of Robert’s discography, because there is undoubtedly something for everyone there.
Catch Robert Taira Wilson in action on June 19th at MTM Presents: Tama Tsuboi Trio, Robert Taira Wilson, Tokyo Godfathers