Sitting in my backyard and soaking up the burgeoning summer sun, I am struck by how quickly the mood of Hayley Sabella's Forgive The Birds changes when the sun goes behind a cloud. On the title track as Sabella sings "I fill them with my love, I fill them with my sorrow," she sets up an album full of the happy/sad duality that is emblematic of the changing seasons.
Forgive The Birds is quiet, heartfelt Pop-Bluegrass. Slide guitar and strings make minimal but notable appearances, and Sabella has a touch of Sarah Harmer's brand of folk in her vocal delivery. Bluegrass music draws its strength from the natural world. It is always written with green grass and running water in mind, it comes from people who spend their time between the cityscapes and countrysides of North America. "I had the privilege of moving slowly with Forgive the Birds, letting sounds and concepts swirl around in my head until they felt ready. It felt kind of like waiting for a harvest to ripen, which makes sense because much of the inspiration was derived from working as a farm hand," Sabella explains. The long wait clearly paid off. Forgive The Birds weaves between campfire-esque folk songs like "Cape Cod," upbeat pop like "Put You At Ease" and "Maria," and the mournful "Roman Ocean."
"Love Is A Chisel" is the final track on the album. With its simple guitar plucking and subdued vocal tones, a darkening sky looms over my back porch, and brings with it enough rain that I have to move indoors. Sabella is "realizing in retrospect that the influence of working outside is evident not only in the lyrics, but also in my approach to developing this batch of songs." Forgive The Birds is a romantic call-back to older folk tunes, and is wonderfully refreshing in its resistance of the current trend to force folk music into an electronic framework.