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Premiere: Korby Lenker - 'Crow Country'

By Ciara Bains

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Every now and then, amongst the noise of viral content and fleeting attention spans, you'll come across something that's been crafted with such intricate beauty it'll stop you in your tracks.

Even within its introductory seconds, 'Crow Country' will do just that.

Deeply reflective and unashamedly vulnerable, the new single from Korby Lenker encapsulates a period of grief and self-imposed isolation, following the sudden death of his younger sister and a subsequent hiatus from the music industry.

Migrating from Nashville to Montana, Lenker pursued clarity in the broad alpine range of Montana’s Beartooth Mountains; the hypnotic landscapes captured in the track's accompanying short film. “I was just on this ranch riding horses and playing clawhammer banjo, and I came across a book of essays by Wallace Stegner called American Places”, says Lenker. “He wrote about places he loved, and there happened to be an essay about the exact place I was, Crow Country. It started with a quote from an old Crow Chief, Arapooish: ‘Crow Country is in exactly the right place. Everything good is to be found there’. I read that and looked around me at this incredibly beautiful place I was in and I started writing this song about my little sister.”

Featuring Native American artist/ Grammy Award-winning singer Bill Miller on vocals and Native American Flute, the track is an unplugged, candid expression of emotional healing. Lenker’s vocals wash over the clawhammer banjo lead, building to a layered sonic expanse, as if echoing the swirling and spiralling of inner thoughts. “It’s about this specific place, but it’s also about a place that maybe exists in your mind, where you can go and visit the people in your life you’ve loved and lost”.

'Crow Country' is the second single from Lenker's forthcoming eighth studio album Man in the Maroon, set for release on May 21st via Grind Ethos Records. The LP’s 11 tracks will include nine songs penned by Korby, a reading of an original short story and an ethereal cover of the timeless classic, 'Moon River'.

Listen to 'Crow Country' and watch the video exclusively at Holler today.

Photography by David McClister