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Folk rockers Shearwater find second time's a charm



After recording songs for its critically lauded fourth LP, "Palo Santo," the Austin, Texas-based folk-rock band Shearwater toured extensively ... and noticed the songs began to change. They hoped re-recording five of the 11 tracks and re-issuing the album through Matador Records would reflect that.

"We'd played the songs a lot live, so we learned things we didn't know when we'd recorded them," said front man Jonathan Meiburg. "It was like going back in time, like getting a second chance at your senior (year) in high school. It's good to get to do it over again, but the downside is you have to go back to high school."

The result shows the maturing process of the band. Its members have benefited from the road and the new versions are much more brazen and full. The old versions sounded hollow and metallic, but after hundreds of passes at the songs while on the road, the numbers now bridle with energy and bluster. Although pleased with the final product, Meiburg wasn't convinced it was a good idea at first.

"It wasn't one big thing, but many small things that made us want to do this. I had to be talked into it. The rest of the band wanted to do it, so I acquiesced and now pretend it was my idea," he said. "Most of the songs are note-for-note the same, but they are more themselves. It's like when you get a haircut you really like: 'Oh, right, that's me.'" "Charles Martin

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