Decemberists Re-Issuing 'The Crane Wife' in Deluxe Vinyl Box Set with Lin-Manuel Miranda Essay

Wendy Redfern/Redferns
The Decemberists photographed in Portland, OR in 2006.

The Decemberists will re-issue their 2006 album The Crane Wife in a limited-edition vinyl box set on Dec. 9. The package will feature the original album, b-sides, bonus track, outtakes, demos, a Blu-Ray of a 2006 concert from the 9:30 Club in D.C. and an essay from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Wife was the Portland act's first major label album and in a release announcing the set, songwriter/singer Colin Meloy explained what the stakes were at the time for the legendarily literate folk-rock band.  

"There are two ways we could have gone with our major label debut," Meloy says in the release. "One was to get our money's worth with an album of singles. But we would have failed, because we are not a singles band. The other was to mess with the convention of what a band's major label debut should be like." The ambitious album was produced by Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla and producer Tucker Martine and featured the 12-minute three-part opus, "The Island."

 

In celebration of The Crane Wife's 10th anniversary, we're re-releasing the album on December 9 as a limited edition 5 LP + 1 Blu-ray Box Set with the first 500 copies signed by the band. Pre-order now at Decemberists.com The original record has been remastered and neatly folded on to three sides of the first two LPs (why didn’t we do that before?!), with the fourth side given over to b-sides and outtakes. A further LP of unreleased outtakes comprises the 3rd disc, with the 4th and 5th LPs being all of the as-yet unreleased home demos for the record. A live show at D.C.’s storied @930Club from October 2006 has been unearthed and remastered for the Blu-ray that is included with the set. A LP-size booklet has been lovingly constructed as well, including all the art and lyrics from the original CD booklet along with an essay from David Fricke. Lin-Manuel Miranda, he of Hamilton fame, has been so generous as to provide a foreword for the book. If you’re the sort of person who likes to bundle your orders with other related knick-knacks, we have you covered. We’ve designed a t-shirt and square scarf to commemorate The Crane Wife’s anniversary; you can add those to your order as you desire. AND: since it happens that The Crane Wife is enjoying its decade birthday party in the midst of our @Illimat Kickstarter campaign, we thought it fitting to draw some sort of connection between those two projects. We’ve asked Keith Baker, Illimat Designer, to create six exclusive Crane Wife-themed Luminary cards and two special okus tokens for the occasion. You can get this Crane Wife expansion at the Illimat Kickstarter page, Illimat.com.

A video posted by The Decemberists (@thedecemberists) on

 

According to the release, the box set will include five LPs featuring the original album as a double LP plus three additional records filled with b-sides and bonus tracks, unreleased outtakes, alternate versions and Meloy's solo acoustic demos. Among the outtakes are "The Perfect Crime #1 + The Day I Knew You'd Not Come Back," "After the Bombs (early take)," "Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then (alternate take with Alela Diane)," "Culling of the Fold (alternate take with Sean Nelson)," "Hurdles Even Here (full band take)" and "The Perfect Crime #2 (early take)." The fourth and fifth records will have demos of almost every song on the album, including the three-part "The Crane Wife" as a single composition in its original sequence. 

 

There will also be a Blu-Ray of a two-hour concert filmed live for NPR's second-ever webcast in 2006 at Washington, D.C.'s famed 9:30 Club; the show has never been commercially available. The 20-page booklet will include liner notes from rock historian/Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke and an essay by Tony-winning fan Miranda. Superfans can also order a highly limited color pressing of 500 copies on marbled red vinyl, available now for pre-order at Decemberists.com; the first 500 copies will be signed by the band.

The band recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for their tabletop game Illimat, which was created with game designer Keith Baker (Gloom, Phoenix: Dawn Command). An expansion kit for the game with six exclusive Crane Wife-themed game cards and two special tokens will be released in conjunction with the album re-issue. The Decemberists' most recent album was 2015's What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World.