What's a Willie-Waught? Andrew Bird Gets to the Bottom of 'Auld Lang Syne'

Photos: Austin City Limits 2012

Andrew Bird performs during the 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival on October 13, 2012 in Austin, Texas.

Andrew Bird's bouncy, happy-go-lucky version of "Auld Lang Syne" unsurprisingly closes out the new "Holidays Rule" compilation, and the indie-folk star says it was curiosity that drove him to pick the New Year's Eve staple.

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"I've been determined for years to learn all the verses of this Scottish classic," he tells Billboard. "It's almost in the category of 'happy birthday' in that it's second nature in our society to sing this song at a particular moment yet we have only a vague notion of what it's about. 'A right guid willie-waught'?' Begging the question: what is a 'willie-waught''?"

[The line roughly means to have a goodwill or friendly drink.]

Bird's warm reading of the traditional song (set to a Robert Burns poem) is punctuated by his bright, jazz violin solos plus the strum of a mandolin and thoughtful background vocals.

"Holidays Rule," comprised of 17 newly recorded song from artists including Paul McCartney, the Shins and fun., was released on Oct. 30, peaking at No. 7 on the Billboard Holidays Albums chart.

Check out the streaming premiere of "Auld Lang Syne" here and be sure to add it to your New Year's playlist:


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