Wolff Bowden grew up in a house on concrete stilts, fifteen feet above a Florida swamp. Summer nights brought symphonies of alligators, owls and frogs. But in Wolff’s recurring dream, it was always winter, and he walked out among the cypresses to sit by a blazing fire where he would sing to a strange collection of forest beings he called The Winterlings.
Amanda Birdsall was working on a doctorate in psychology, halfway through an Adult Psychopathology class, when she looked down at her notebook. Instead of transcribing the lecture, she had completely filled the margins with song lyrics. She stood up, walked out of class, grabbed her guitar and drove to Canada where she worked on organic farms in exchange for food and tiny rooms where she wrote songs by candlelight.
Wolff and Amanda met one night at a party where a Buddhist ritual had just taken place in a backyard fire pit. The ritual consisted of writing, on small slips of paper, wishes that would burn in the flames so their smoke might lift them into the wind and make them real. Wolff burned his wish and Amanda arrived an hour later. She was the muse and the music he had been waiting for, and his life as an artist re-awakened her desire for a creative life.
Wolff and Amanda sold their cars on Ebay, bought a banged-up van from a motorcycle shop, and drove to Oregon where they knew no one. They rented a small apartment next to a large forest and wrote the songs for their first album: On The Night You Were Born. This album, released under the name of The Orphan Trains, supported a second trip to Oregon where Amanda and Wolffslipped into a blue cocoon, wrote their new album, THE ANIMAL GROOM, and became “The Winterlings“.
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