As a traveling garage folk musician, Aaron Yealdhall is praised for insightful lyrics and instrumental prowess, sometimes performing as a one-man band and sometimes entertaining audiences as a unit — all under the moniker of Skribe.
That reputation was formed after he independently released four albums and numerous singles, and after headlining shows across the nation. With his newest single “Birdwatching,” though, he went back to the basics with the support of Justin Kruger on drums and Gingerwolf on bass.
“Listening back to the track, I was hearing the influences that initially inspired me to pick up a guitar and make noise: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, Stone Temple Pilots and pretty much any other fuzz-heavy, angsty ‘90s to 2000s music,” Yealdhall said.
“Birdwatching” is the first of several songs Skribe is releasing via limited edition 7-inch vinyl “jukebox 45” records. On that track, Soren Mattson and Yealdhall added layers of guitar. Gingerwolf produced bird noises. Shea Springer of Sweetfoot “worked his mixing magic,” according to Yealdhall, who may have yelled a few backup vocals at some point, too.
Yealdhall’s canjo, kazoo, and suitcase kick drum are absent from this record but are featured on most of the soon-to-be-released tracks.
The loudest, most ‘90s rock song of the Skribe catalog, “Birdwatching” was penned in 2011 but didn’t quite fit with 2013’s “Less Is More” — a stripped-down acoustic album with an Indie Americana twang, as Yealdhall described it — or his next album, “Postcards,” which was released in 2016.
Lyrically, it was inspired by a thrift store birding book he originally purchased to cut up for a collage.
“There was a page about gaining a bird’s trust to the point where the bird will eventually eat right out of your hand,” Yealdhall said. “This piqued my interest into the world of birdwatching, though I have yet to officially go birding. There are these winged little dinosaurs all around us and everyone is just super chill about it. The Birds Aren’t Real movement makes it even more interesting to me.”
With his explanation of the song, Yealdhall expressed his curiosity about a simple aspect of life, something easy to take for granted. Those moments are even more special to him after losing his 27-year-old brother to a stroke in January 2018 and following his own stroke that he suffered in November 2019.
A newly released vinyl features “Birdwatching” and a full-band version of his song “Everything’s Changed,” which has more significance now that he lost his brother.
“The meaning of ‘Everything’s Changed’ has kind of shifted for me since then,” Yealdhall said. “It’s part of the reason it felt right to re-release this full-band version.”
The first vinyl release, “Birdwatching,” was released December 21 at ArtFarm Annapolis with Texas-based act Possessed By Paul James opening the show. Each vinyl release will have unique artwork, an exclusive B-side (never to be available digitally), and correlating merchandise like shirts, pins and posters.
A graphic artist, Yealdhall spray-painted each cover and had the art screen-printed by Blk Ankr Industries in Annapolis. The cover for “Birdwatching” features a spy pigeon from World War II.
“I’ve always loved the immersive album art and liner notes that accompany my favorite albums and also the ‘limited-run’ concert poster artists,” he said. “I aim to combine those two visual elements with the unique packaging for these ‘jukebox’ 45 releases. The second one, ‘That Bliss,’ will drop in April 2020. I really appreciate all the support so far and I have already mapped out plans for the next two releases.”
Yealdhall also put his artistic talents to use as the brainchild behind the Press On design that raised funds for Capital Gazette families following the June 2018 mass shooting at the newspaper’s Annapolis office.
The musician grew up in Severna Park, moved to Annapolis and later the Eastern Shore, and has returned to Severna Park with his wife and pup, booking shows around town whenever possible. He will perform at Brian Boru Irish Restaurant and Pub on March 7. Every Sunday, he performs the 10:00pm set at Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis. “Birdwatching” is also in the regular rotation on the radio station 89.7 WTMD.
To learn more, visit www.skribestudios.com or follow Skribe on Facebook (@garagefolks), Instagram (@skribemusic) and Twitter (@skribestudios). Skribe is also on Spotify.
“The recovery process has given me a new perspective, and some down time, which I have used to map out the release of this new collection of music,” he said. “There is strength to slowing down to think before you make your next move. I want to make movements, not motions.”