Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Blind Pilot Return After 8 Year Hiatus

Blind Pilot has returned with a radically transformed and revitalized sound on their first release since 2016, “In The Shadow Of The Holy Mountain.” This eleven-song collection, set to arrive on 16th August via ATO Records, reflects the group’s “elegant, thoughtful reflections” (NPR Music) with newfound depth and perspective. The album marks the end of a years-long journey for Blind Pilot’s Israel Nebeker, both geographically and spiritually, as he worked to reclaim his voice as a songwriter. Nebeker shares, “I was struggling with a lot of fear surrounding expectations of who I was supposed to be. I’d lost my path with music.”

Nebeker’s journey took him to Scandinavia, where he reconnected with his family’s roots in the nomadic Sámi community. A drumming ceremony led to visions of his ancestors and the mountain where his creative rebirth began. This experience reignited his songwriting passion, which was further solidified when he and Blind Pilot co-founder Ryan Dobrowski were invited to perform in Mexico City by a humanitarian group assisting migrants. Inspired by their stories, Nebeker wrote a song exploring themes of ownership and othering. After years of writer’s block, “In The Shadow Of The Holy Mountain” flowed out of him in a single month. Soon after, Nebeker reunited with Dobrowski, bassist Luke Ydstie, and multi-instrumentalist Kati Claborn to begin work on the album in their longtime home base of Astoria, Oregon.

The first single, “Just A Bird,” contrasts its carefree spirit with the emotional complexity of its lyrics.


The band teamed up with producer Josh Kaufman (The National, The War On Drugs) at a 19th-century church turned home studio in upstate New York. The recording sessions for “In The Shadow Of The Holy Mountain” were the most free-flowing of the band’s career, described by Nebeker as “the most joy we’d ever had in making an album together.” This palpable joy shines through in a collection that’s equal parts celebration and revelation. Dombrowski, who formed an early version of Blind Pilot with Nebeker nearly two decades ago as a college student, adds, “We’re still feeling that deep connection that’s been a throughline for our entire adult lives.”

Much of the energy in “In The Shadow Of The Holy Mountain” comes from Blind Pilot fully harnessing the chemistry of their live performances, which has included tours with The Shins, Andrew Bird, and Gregory Alan Isakov, along with appearances at major festivals like Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo. This time, they’ll tour North America into 2024, beginning with a run of intimate shows this summer at venues like Los Angeles’ Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever and New York’s Sultan Room. They will debut new material from the album at these shows, celebrating their first release since 2016’s “And Then Like Lions,” a collection praised by the Wall Street Journal as “reminiscent of Lou Reed’s ‘Magic and Loss’ and Arcade Fire’s ‘Funeral,’ which are excellent company.”

“In The Shadow Of The Holy Mountain” Tracklist:

  1. Jacaranda
  2. Brave
  3. Pocket Knife
  4. Don’t You Know
  5. Just A Bird
  6. Coming Back
  7. Faces of Light
  8. One Drop
  9. Lucky
  10. Bitter Water
  11. Same Thing