Birdtalker Takes On Religious Hypocrisy In 'Outside the Lines': Premiere

Gavin Nutt

Nashville's Birdtalker won attention with its 2016 single "Heavy." And the group stays, well, heavy with "Outside The Lines," a single from its upcoming full-length debut One premiering below.

"I was pretty angry when I wrote it, but I don't think you would know that from listening to the song," Dani Green, who co-fronts Birdtalker with her husband Zack Green, tells Billboard about the gentle, harmony-laden folk song. Organized religion was Green's intended target, but "Outside The Lines" carefully encompasses hypocrisy on a broader scale.

"I was tired of feeling like people in that arena could -- because they say they're believing in good things -- treat people really poorly," Green explains. "That just stirred up a lot of anger in me. The language of the song, the words, are very flowery and elevated to poke fun at the elevated, flowery language of religion, the ancient texts. It feels like it's deceptive. That language, because it's so nice and flowery, is like a shield you could put up in front of you, but then you go and treat people in ways that's not at all reflective of the things you said."

"Outside The Lines" is, however, representative of Green's lyrical approach on the album's 11 tracks. "It's sort of a snapshot of a period of deconstruction and having a lot of open-ended questions," she says. "It feels pretty open-handed and like it asks a lot of question and sort of targets mainstays or institutions, things that are kind of an unquestioned part of your life -- until you decided to start questioning them. So it feels like a lot of questions, with a little bit of resolve."

One, which comes out June 22, is an album of many moods, both lyrically and sonically. Following the 2016 EP Just This, it finds the quintet playing rock, country, pop, folk and noir ballads, offering a more complete picture of the group than its predecessor. "A full-length (album) feels more like a full step than an EP," Zack Green says. "I feel like an EP can be a dipping of a toe in the water; (One) feels like we've taken our first step forward, made our first statement to the world that this is the music we make and what we have to say. It feels good."