John Common | Why Birds Fly

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Why Birds Fly

by John Common

Indie rock from a songwriter who can pin you to the wall, break your heart, or just send you off thinking for a while.
Genre: Rock: American Underground
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Call
0:41 $0.99
2. Already There
2:28 $0.99
3. Do You Hate
4:56 $0.99
4. Moonlight
3:33 $0.99
5. Before You Met Me
4:47 $0.99
6. Flesh Wound
4:05 $0.99
7. Unseen Things
1:41 $0.99
8. LGM
3:01 $0.99
9. You Stay
4:10 $0.99
10. Wrong Number
2:28 $0.99
11. Not So Bad
3:50 $0.99
12. Do You Hate (karaoke)
4:15 $0.99
13. Response
0:39 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
John Common sometimes wishes he were a filmmaker or a painter, but due to a run-in with his brother's record collection at an impressionable age, he ended up with a bad case of the rock and an obsession for making music instead. He's constantly writing songs... they range from raucous and snarly, to beautiful and introspective. He grew up in Pensacola, Florida -- hotbed for every strain of rabidly fundamentalist, evangelical Christian sect known to man (action) and a surprisingly vibrant indie music scene (reaction). When he was thirteen, he found his older brother's Epiphone acoustic guitar covered in dust in the back of a closet and a light bulb went on. "Writing songs is pretty much the only thing I've ever stuck with," he says.

After traveling around the country, writing, playing shows and just soaking it all in, he eventually made his way to Colorado. As the singer, songwriter and guitarist for the Denver-based band RAINVILLE, he built a reputation for writing gritty, honest songs and then playing and singing the hell out of them live. Rainville released two albums to critical acclaim nationally and in Europe, and toured from 1999 to 2004. In late 2004 John began exploring different territory. That desire to experiment led him to begin writing and recording a body of music unlike anything he's ever done before. You can hear it on GOOD TO BE BORN (2006) and WHY BIRDS FLY (2007). His music is difficult to classify but he’s pretty happy about that.


In 2005 John started putting together a new project to flesh out the music he was looking to create. Tapping into Denvers growing indie music scene, he met an incredibly talented group of musicians, artists and friends. “We kind of stretch the definition of what a band is… it’s more like an evolving group of friends who make records and play shows together.” Right now, the group includes: Jed Marrs (keys, vocals), Kevin Meyer (bass, vocals), Tom Germain (drums), Brian McRae (drums), Scott Davies (drums, samples), Steve Millin (bass), John Horan (percussion, harmonica), Paula Ailshie (violin), and Cheyenne Kowal (vocals).

The sound they create together integrates smart lyrics with layered, artfully arranged music that can pin you to the wall, break your heart, or just send you off thinking for a while. The group has an unmistakable chemistry whether live or in the studio. Together, they are that unique kind of band where each player is a seriously talented artist in their own right, but when they play together something extra happens. Something bigger. "I'm really lucky to be playing with people who are this good... The music wouldn’t be the same without the thing each of us brings to the group. You can tell we love playing together," says Common.

WHY BIRDS FLY (2007 Free School Records)

WHY BIRDS FLY is JohnCommon’s second release as a solo artist. Recorded from 2005 to 2007, WHY BIRDS FLY continues Common’s experiments in combining words, melody, found sounds and starkly honest songwriting. WHY BIRDS FLY is an audio stroll through the valley of the shadow of relationships.

"John Common's WHY BIRDS FLY is a thirteen-song collection of scratched films and charred photos that chronicle how things come together and then fall apart. Call it the dark “disc two” from the sessions that produced GOOD TO BE BORN, Common’s critically acclaimed debut record. Common covers some intensely emotional ground on this unflinching new release. The disc also shows his breadth as both writer and producer, an artist at ease with quiet acoustic numbers, wordless sound landscapes and fully-orchestrated rock stunners. Wrapped in radio static and shot out into space, WHY BIRDS FLY is both a great question and a troubling answer." -- Marty Jones

GOOD TO BE BORN (2006 Free School Records)

The debut record, GOOD TO BE BORN, is a classic headphone album from start to finish. Smart, introspective songs and layered arrangements combine with artful production choices to create a fully realized record that documents Commons exploration into new territory. GOOD TO BE BORN is a chronicle of a group of artists and friends experimenting and using the studio to define a new voice. "The only rule we had was that any obvious choices had to be challenged. And that meant hours of trying different things, looking for how the puzzle of each song might fit together in new ways," says Common. "I feel like this record is just the beginning. We all can’t wait to get back into the studio and see what happens next."


"A brilliant, extremely ambitious disc... Denver's finest rock recording of the past decade." -- WESTWORD MAGAZINE (Good To Be Born)

"Why Birds Fly is even more uncommon than its acclaimed 2006 predecessor...the aural environment Common creates is so sumptuous that it rewards repeated listens even as it confounds expectations." -- WESTWORD MAGAZINE (Why Birds Fly)

"It may seem difficult to imagine a guy named John Common living a highly individual life, but believe it... his creative curiosity and detail-oriented aesthetic distinguish him from the drooling pack of earnest singer-songwriters." -- DENVER POST

Nominated Best Singer/Songwriter -- WESTWORD 2006

"Raw, yet sophisticated pop." -- THE ONION

"A rich mix of samples, guitars, and lyrical intensity in a quieter version of 'Bends'-era Radiohead or the missing step in Wilco's leap from 'Being There' to 'Summerteeth'. The music is complex and innovative without sacrificing catchy hooks or raw energy in a wide range of styles and tempos. " -- COLORADO MUSIC BUZZ

"He always seems to have the right words... with a repertoire that ranges from haunting to hopeful, pensive to provocative." -- COLORADO LOCAL LEGENDS

"Is something really going on in Denver’s music scene? If we need any more evidence that speaks to the vitality of our expanding catalog of acts, John Common’s new album, “Good to be Born” is that kind of prescription...It’s out. And not to be forgotten. " -- SYNTAX


"With all the craft of a consummate songwriter, John Common builds songs that dig beneath thick skins and lazy thinking. He deconstructs them with the abandon of a mad scientist, resulting in a disc that's as rich in texture as it is drenched in tenderness." -- THE ONION

"Denver's John Common has cracked the code of modern-day songwriting and delivered us something surprisingly refreshing... "Good To Be Born," is full of energy, passion, creativity, variety, personality and most importantly, sounds you've never heard before. He is a damn good songwriter. " -- KCSU MUSIC DIRECTOR / ROCKY MOUNTAIN COLLEGIAN MOVERS AND SHAKER 2006 - WESTWORD

"The auspicious debut of former Rainville frontman John Common shares intellectual shelf space with mid-period Remy Zero and Radiohead. With supple vocals that glide from intoxicating purrs to forceful croons, Common weaves his way through intelligent, cinematic material that's thoughtfully augmented by well-placed samples, subtle brass accompaniment and murmuring keys." -- WESTWORD MAGAZINE

"This album portrays a band with the skills to embellish a writer who has a foot in the motherlode of great songs." -- AMERICANA UK

"Common has achieved the musical equivalent of picking up seven tiles in a game of Scrabble and being able to lay down “bezique” on the first turn. " -- FIVE MAGAZINE, TAOS, NEW MEXICO

"It would be much too easy to use John Common's last name as a pun to describe his 'uncommon' skills as a singer-songwriter, but what the hell." -- SANTE FE REPORTER

"John approaches songwriting as though each song is a scene from a movie. The music and lyrics traverse in opposite directions. Music that grinds and roars, exhales and charges again in a fashion reminiscent of early Rolling Stones or Neil Young Two contrasting streams of expression meet to create an energetic dissonance that is pleasant to the troubled ear, in a word rock." -- BOULDER WEEKLY

"John Common has a keen melodic sense and the requisite ability to take the basic pop formula and turn it on its head. The mix of goodies on his new release, Good To Be Born, bring together a host of elements and styles that, although diverse, avoid the abrasion that many artists suffer when trying to blend too much The blossoming Denver scene should be plenty proud to have Common in its quiver of emerging artists." -- KAFFEINE BUZZ "

His face is a familiar one around town - although it's not as recognizable as his voice." -- DENVER POST

"Drawing as much from Radiohead and Yo La Tengo as it does from Wilco and the Jayhawks, the group folds elegant melody into brooding experimentalism -- an epic, adventurous sound that will be showcased on an upcoming full-length debut." -- WESTWORD MAGAZINE

"Common writes a great song just about every day... 'Good To Be Born' is a Matthew Sweet-meets-Queen rock opus filled with catchy songs and layers of clever vocals... Damn him." -- 5280 MAGAZINE "

Common is a gifted songwriter with a playfully weird sensibility." -- DENVER POST

"Singer-songwriter John Common first won over Colorado audiences with the appealing Americana of his band Rainville, releasing two albums before the project came to an end in 2004. Since then, Common has changed directions with his music, and his new album, Good To Be Born, leaves his earlier alt-country sound behind to focus on innovative pop-rock, enhanced with computerized sounds, Spanish phrases, and other sonic surprises. No two songs sound exactly alike." -- NEW WEST, BOULDER

"Good To Be Born is a compilation of 11 powerful songs with multiple layers and complexities..." -- NORTH DENVER NEWS

"John Common refuses to cave to category." -- DENVER DAILY NEWS

"There are songs that make me want to drink till morning you see... Songs that make me wish I'd somehow gone home with that handsome stranger who smiled when I looked up from my book... Songs that make me want to be loud and messy and get into lots of trouble, when normally I am quiet and neat and only get into medium amounts of trouble... Songs I've caught myself putting on repeat when it's 2 am and I have to wake up at 6..." -- A GIRL

Best guitar tone (2000) -- This one makes me laugh! John Common Rainville frontman John Common sports a six-stringed timbre that's anything but common. With a Fender Twin, a semi-hollow-bodied DeArmond "Starfire" and a pair of Boss pedals, Common creates a dinosaur tone that groans and growls, squawls and squeals. Pair it with his deft rhythm-to-lead workmanship (and his picking smarts) and you've got fully realized guitar glory. Let it reign. -- BEST OF WESTWORD



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