Nahko’s debut solo album My Name Is Bear, set for release on Friday, October 20th, is a 16-track collection (including interludes sampled from Nahko’s original road trips) that reflects the soul, authenticity and spirit that Nahko’s fans have come to know.
It features the single ‘Dragonfly’, and ventures into decidedly more “rocking and personal territory,” as Nahko puts it.
In fact, much of My Name Is Bear is informed by a time in Nahko’s life spent in search of and reconciling his reunion with his birth mother, who had given him up at the age of 15 after being thrust into unthinkable circumstances.
He did however, at the age of 21, find her, living remarkably just 15 minutes from his home.“I drove to her house and there she was,” said Nahko. “She was crying, I was crying and consequently, as most of these songs were written between the age of 18 and 21, much of the spirit of My Name Is Bear is informed by this time in my life.”
My Name Is Bear predates Nahko’s rise to mythos among diehard fans of Medicine for the People. As he puts it, the album serves as a “prequel,” that artfully merges rustic acoustic guitars, upbeat energy, tribal flavours, fiery percussion and ponderous lyrics.
Its first single ‘Dragonfly’, which is out today, will be accompanied by a music video that will feature Nahko’s friend Paris Jackson. Fingerpicked acoustic guitar builds into an unshakable melody punctuated by an African-style beat and chirping birds as he carries the chant, “To my former of dragonfly, I resist and I survive.”
“I wrote that at 18,” he recalls. “It’s a special one about following my heart in relation to a first love. I was very enamoured with her. We met in Alaska, and she had a similar story to my birth mother. I followed her to Louisiana by way of a very long road trip. We spent four months in a house in the Deep South hanging out. It came from surviving that first year away from home. It was a special piece for me.”
Finger-snaps set the stage for a delicate and heartwarming narrative about the birth of his brother’s first child on ‘Call Him By His Name.’ Strings underscore the emotional heft of the soulful ballad ‘Susanna,’ which relays the journey from home towards love. Meanwhile, the shimmering piano of ‘Alice’ echoes with lively and lush melodies.
At the end of the day, My Name Is Bear sets the stage for a whole lot more from Nahko.
“I decided to make this album last year as the world was changing,”‘ he explains. “I know I could go deep on Medicine for the People, but I had to go back in time for myself, clean out the closet a little bit, and give listeners something that feels good, but makes them think. I hope in making them feel good for an hour; it makes them feel better.”
Nahko embarks on a full U.S. and European headlining tour in support of My Name Is Bear. The tour features a number of UK dates including a show at London Islington’s Assembly Hall on Friday December 1st. All tickets are on sale now: nahko.com/tour
Pre-order My Name Is Bear here: smartURL.it/Nahko
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