Song Premiere: “Mamma Bird”–Wild Ponies
“Mamma Bird” takes flight with a jaunty fiddle that’s flies under and around Telisha Williams’ soaring vocals and the guitar and banjo riffs that glide through the song’s bridges. The music catches perfectly the at-once measured and frenetic activity of the mamma bird who watchfully builds her nest, fiercely protects it, and reluctantly but forcefully nudges her brood to fly away to their own lives.
“Amelia White came over to hang out and write some songs,” says Williams, “and we were telling her about our ‘adventures’ with a Mama Bird (house finch) that had built a nest behind on our porch light for the past several years. After sipping some coffee and talking for bit, we decided Mama Bird needed to be in a song.”
The first verse counsels anyone near to “stay out of her way,” and the first chorus sings of her clear focus on her task that, “She don’t pay no mind to the birds out on the line.” Every chorus repeats the line: “mamma bird, mamma bird, mean ole mamma bird.” “She’s not really mean; she’s tough. And I do love a fierce mama; she’d do anything for those babies,” says Williams. “We called her mean because every time we would come home late at night, she would dive bomb us as we’re trying to get in our own house—just flapping at us like crazy to get us off the porch. We were thinking, ‘We love having you here, and we’re happy to host you and your babies, but we’re actually paying rent, so you should be a little more gracious and CTFO’,” laughs Williams.
The music softens and the pace slows in the final verse when Williams sings of mamma bird’s not wanting her brood to see her cry as she pushes them out of the nest to fly off on their own. “That’s my favorite verse,” she says. “You see a little of mama’s softer side, and you see for sure that everything she does, she’s just taking care of those babies. On the record, that part gets really soft and intimate. That happened naturally, just from everyone listening to each other as we played. We didn’t talk about that dynamic shift. It just happened, and it’s so perfect for the sentiment of that verse. It’s such a clear observation of the circle of life, but it’s such a great demonstration of how nature works.”
“Mamma Bird” appears on the Wild Ponies’ new album, Galax, out on Gearbox on August 25