I saw a man on his hands and knees crawling through Manhattan in a blue business suit. The world was walking by him as if crawling up Broadway was standard practice. I personally found it highly devotional. A man crawling home. Instinctively, I felt he was someone I needed to know. Turns out, he was also a songwriter, and not just any songwriter – this was Birdthrower.
Robert O. Leaver, aka Birdthrower, works as a groundskeeper at Riverside Park in New York, which runs along the Hudson River from 72nd Street up to the George Washington Bridge at 175th Street. The park is full of woods, gardens, playgrounds, a skateboard park and baseball fields. This fall Birdthrower was up every morning at 5:45 am, planting fast before frost, and as winter comes he'll be pruning, sharpening tools, shoveling snow and trying not to freeze. The wind blows hard off the river. Plenty of birds blowing around, and some lost souls too. During a cold snap, birds sometimes fall to earth; he warms them in his hands and throws them back skyward.
Birdthrower and I became friends and I signed on to produce his debut record. I immediately recognized in his music that these were not just songs, but love-aged, world-worn fables, scratched deep into the page with the painful pen of experience, maturity and dirt beneath the fingernails.
In the making of this album, Birdthrower recorded these songs live in one, two, three takes tops. As a musician I was inspired — as a producer, it was a dream gig.
I love Birdthrower's music. I want the world to have the chance to love it as much as I do.