Hear It First: Mother Banjo, ‘Eyes on the Sky’

Artists In Their Own Wordsby Mother Banjo

“I recorded Eyes on the Sky in four days, playing live with my amazing 5-piece band in the historic Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing, MN. It was extremely intimate, making music in a circle with my friends. It was the perfect way to record this–my most personal album to date. It documents six years of dramatic changes in the world and my personal life, including marriage, love, loss, and pregnancy. My last two recordings were thematic (one about sinners, cheaters and ne’er-do-wells followed by a full-length gospel album) so it felt good to write songs that were just about my life and what I was feeling. Some were written more than six years ago, while three were written in the last year– “Eyes on the Sky,” “Find You There” and “I Got a Tree” were written in a 24-hour period when I was holed up in a Northern Minnesota cabin. Although all very different, each seemed to speak to how small yet integral I felt in the context of the greater world. These songs, especially the title track, are a reminder that no matter how strong our emotions and how hard our circumstances may be, we have to keep our eyes on the bigger picture and remember that it is how we contribute to the world that truly matters.

One of the oldest songs on the album, “A Bird Apart” was written when I was falling in love with my now husband Ben Cook-Feltz, who had started playing keyboards in the Mother Banjo Band. We played that song a lot together when we first started dating so it was important that we recorded it just that way–as a duet. “Trust Your Boots” was inspired by my dad and his mantra to follow your feet and be guided by your own compass–something that I’m trying to be better at.

Even the covers on the album feel personal to me. I’ve always struggled writing a good straight-forward love song, but when I first started singing Robin & Linda Williams’ “Together All Alone,” I knew it was one I wish I had written. It’s a very real love song about a couple getting happily snowed in–something us Minnesotans can relate to. The band has been doing it together for many years and I wasn’t even sure if it was going to be on this album, but as soon as I heard it next to these other songs, I knew it belonged. Similarly, “Will Your House Be Blessed” is one that has become so extremely personal I couldn’t imagine not singing it–especially now as I think about how I want to live as a model to my child and the kind of home I want to build for him.

Eyes on the Sky feels like the most authentic representation of my music to date–personal songs recorded live with people I love. I still feel that every time I sing these songs, and I hope that’s what others take away from it.”


Eyes on the Sky is available for pre-order now – HERE.

Upcoming shows:

Wed 3/27 – Carbone’s – Minneapolis, MN

Sat 3/30 – The Grand – New Ulm, MN

Sat 4/6 – Flying Dutchman – Eden Prairie, MN

Thurs 4/18 – John Prine Tribute at Hook & Ladder Theater – Minneapolis, MN

Sat 4/20 – Blacklist – Duluth, MN

Fri 4/26 – Aster Cafe – Minneapolis, MN

Mother Banjo will be on maternity leave May-July but will be back on the road, starting in August. Click here for full tour schedule.

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