Brown Bird’s Final Album

MorganEve Swain releases Axis Mundi, available April 28.

It was the fall of 2011 and MorganEve Swain and David Lamb of Brown Bird, a revered Warren band, had just finished a set at the Met in Pawtucket. I can still conjure the force of Lamb’s kick drum, of Swain’s furious violin. Their chemistry was inimitable. “We were aware of the dangers of being pigeonholed as a cute couple folk band,” Swain says. “It was always about the music.”

But when Lamb was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013, they went public. The couple married that fall. “The outpouring of support was incredible,” Swain says, citing a successful YouCaring fundraiser plus heartfelt letters from fans.

Lamb died in April of 2014, and Swain mourned by finishing Axis Mundi, an intense album of songs they recorded during his illness, plus two poignant additions: “I wrote ‘Tortured Boy’ in the first months we knew each other. Dave really wanted it on this record, which, in retrospect, is kind of crazy,” she says. “Dave wrote ‘Avalon’ for me last Christmas.”

Since then, Swain launched a musical project, the Huntress. But her focus remains on Lamb’s legacy. “I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud of anything. Usually you talk about your own music and you’re kind of modest. But this album, it’s awesome. There’s no modesty about it.”


Read an extended Q-and-A with musician MorganEve Swain on Brown Bird’s final album, Axis Mundi.