Grandma Sparrow,

Song Premiere: Grandma Sparrow, “The Farewell Bolero”

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 03.26.14 in Features

There’s a factual answer to the question “Who is Grandma Sparrow?” and that answer is “Joe Westerlund of Califone and Megafaun.” But that answer won’t mean much once you get an earful of the beautiful, delirious “The Farewell Bolero” from the forthcoming Grandma Sparrow & his Piddletractor Orchestra, out May 20 on Matthew E. White’s Spacebomb Records. It’s got the strange, multi-layered harmonies of the Beatles circa Magical Mystery Tour, the symphonic sweep of Van Dyke Parks, the oddball instrumentation of Brian Wilson at his most wigged-out. It’s a weird, wavy mirage of a song, an oblique answer in search of a riddle, a psyched-out concerto with hieroglyphic lyrics. So, who is Grandma Sparrow? Your guess is as good as mine.