2023 Album: As Though I Had Wings
As half of the rising alt-country duo The Goddamsels, listeners around the world are quickly getting to know and love Mallory Chipman as one of the vital new voices on the Canadian scene. Now, the ever-prolific Alberta singer/songwriter is taking flight—metaphorically at least—on a new solo project, As Though I Had Wings, an EP reflecting her love of nature, and specifically, birdcalls.
Each of the four songs on As Though I Had Wings is based on sounds of birds native to Alberta, all of which are endangered or threatened, such as the burrowing owl, the black tern, the red-winged blackbird, and the peregrine falcon. Mallory says that the inspiration for the project struck one day when she heard a common birdcall and it suddenly reminded her of a film score buried deep in her memory. From there, she began tuning in more closely to birdcalls on her regular hikes, while thinking of how to transcribe them into playable music by establishing a key and making sense of their rhythm.
As simply a songwriting experiment, the results are stunning, but on another level, Mallory’s approach perhaps opens up previously unexplored ways of thinking about melody—melodies that only birds can produce. As Though I Had Wings presents many other such questions, but the answers are invariably embedded in four songs that together comprise some of the finest folk-rock currently being made.