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Bellows, Nathaniel

Swan and Wolf
(Self-Released)
Release Date: March 30, 2018
Add Date: March 20, 2018

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Nathaniel Bellows is a broadly published poet, novelist, visual artist, and musician, based in New York City. His new album, Swan and Wolf, is a collection of ten original songs, featuring musicians Timo Andres, David Garland, Michael Hammond, Kid Millions, and Padma Newsome. Each song on Swan and Wolf is paired with one of Bellows’s unique illustrations, which integrate the song lyrics in mixed media art pieces, inspired by illuminated manuscript and palimpsest sketchbook pages.

Bellows’ first album, The Old Illusions, received enthusiastic praise from a wide array of critics:


The Old Illusions is a very intimate, earnest album. Bellows’ vocals are piercing, and very distinct; perhaps the best comparison would be that of Marcus Mumford, but more refined. [The] intensity of Johnny Cash or Leonard Cohen lives within Bellows’ ability to tell a story and focus squarely on the lyrics. And it really is the vocal performance here that stands out; Bellows bears the unmistakable mark of a haunted, introspective artist… This isn’t a showy or flashy album, but it is full of imaginative vibrance. A complex and interesting songwriter, Bellows has fashioned an album that requires more than a single listening to appreciate everything happening in the arrangements and lyrics.

– Heidi Drockeman, Indie Music


Bellows’ first collection of poems, Why Speak? (W.W. Norton), was called “gripping…the book’s power depends on the slow accumulation of an inner world” by The New York Times Book Review and Library Journal pronounced it “a smart and powerful debut.” His poems have appeared in such magazines and journals as The New Republic, American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, The New York Times Book Review, Ploughshares, The Yale Review, Dossier, TriQuarterly, The Academy of American Poets “Poem a Day” Program, and the Everyman Anthology, Poems of New York.


Bellows is also the author of two novels: On This Day (HarperCollins) (“A triumph,” The Los Angeles Times) and Nan: A Novel in Stories (Harmon Blunt Publishers) (“beautiful… heart-piercing…necessary reading,” The Millions). His short fiction has been published in The Paris Review, Narrative, Guernica, Redivider, The Best American Short Stories (selected by Michael Chabon), and other journals and magazines. He earned a BA in English and Studio Arts from Middlebury College, and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University, with a concentration in drawing and printmaking.


For the past six years Bellows has been writing libretti for the composer Sarah Kirkland Snider (“the finest composer for voice of her generation.” Agit Reader). Their most recent release, Unremembered (New Amsterdam, 2015), a song-cycle for 7 voices, chamber orchestra, and electronics, was inspired by 13 of Bellows’ poems and illustrations. The album received wide coverage and high praise from such outlets as The Washington Post, NPR, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, New York Magazine, and was named to dozens of Best-of-2015 lists internationally including The Washington Post (Top Five), The Nation (Top Five), The Boston Globe’s Steve Smith, The Guardian’s Seth Colter Walls, WNYC, and New Music Box. Unremembered was also called “one of the most significant and harrowing releases of the year” (Thought Catalog); “masterful…a stunning, immensely rewarding experience” (PopMatters); “evocative and strangely beautiful” (Opera News); “warped and eerie” (NPR Songs We Love); “luminous, otherworldly, and brilliantly individualistic (New York Music Daily); and “a glimpse into an entirely new sound world” (Indy Week). It was also named one of the 50 Best Classical Works of the Past Twenty Years by Q2 Radio listeners in both 2015 and 2016.




Photos: Ethan Hill
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