Motherhood shares new single, “Shepherd”

Category: music 260

Shepherd is the second single from the band’s forthcoming album, Winded, due out June 24 on Forward Music Group. 

Matt Carter 

One of the most entertaining pastimes you can find is reading all the different ways writers have tried to narrow down exactly what Fredericton’s Motherhood are all about. They have been described as punk-rock, post-punk, avant-rock, pop-rock, prog-rock, and the attempted catchall sludge-surf-punk-rockabilly-avant-garde-rock ‘n’ roll to name a few. Other adjectives used to describe the band’s material include goofy, delightful, strange, weird, beautiful, intense and bizarre. 

Motherhood’s music gets talked about a lot. And while no two people may ever agree on how exactly to categorize the trio’s interpretive take on rock n roll’s dynamic form using any number of existing sub-genres or attempts at coining new ones, Motherhood have never failed to make listeners think. And for any band to make you listen and think as much as Motherhood do, they’ve got to be doing something right. 

Shepherd, the band’s second single to arrive in advance of this summer’s forthcoming album, will do little to alleviate constant attempts to tie Motherhood’s music into a tight, concise package. Placing the familiarity of a four beat structure above a six-beat pattern, Shepherd’s main melody provides room for organ, guitars and drums to hold equal space and purpose in shaping the song’s eerie atmosphere and its slithering crawl-on-your-belly momentum. Add to that an escalating series of key changes, shakers, a güiro, and Brydon Crain’s usual innuendo-rich lyrics and you’ve got the makings of another Motherhood gem that defies easy (and pointless) categorization. 

As Motherhood’s Penny Stevens explains, Shepherd was one of the first songs the band started working on for their new album and one of the last to come together.

“I kept picturing someone walking through the halls of a motel, with shag carpet and cigarette smoke,” explains Motherhood member Penelope Stevens. “The demo was originally called Creepy Motel, for that reason, even though the song ended up being about sheep. We spent a long time playing with major and minor transitions, taking inspiration from the Marty Robbin’s Gunfighter Ballads and old westerns. Then Brydon wrote the verses and chord progression, and we battled it all out until basically the night before we went into the studio. For being such a hard-won song, it ended up being one of our collective favourites, for sure.”

Motherhood’s ability to write, arrange, rearrange and then re-rearrange ideas to seek a final form is just one of the reasons that make each new song they share a listening experience unique unto itself. Don’t try to label it. Just enjoy it. Listen to Shepherd. And then listen again. And then listen again. And then listen…

Shepherd is the second single from the band’s forthcoming album, Winded, due out June 24 on Forward Music Group. 

Upcoming Performances: 

June 8 – 11 | St. John’s, NL | Lawnya Vawnya
June 22 – 26 | Calgary, AB | Sled Island
September  9 | Vienna, AT | Waves Vienna 


Band photo by Vanessa Heins.

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