After a five-year hiatus, Blind Pilot released its third album, And Then Like Lions, last week. The group's frontman, Israel Nebeker, wrote the songs coming out of a period of grief following the death of his father (Oregon painter and teacher Royal Nebeker) and the end of a long relationship. The album leads with songs, like "Umpqua Rushing," that open quietly and bloom into lush and hopeful folk-pop arrangements.
One of the most striking songs from And Then Like Lions is the reflective "Joik #3." It was written to honor the elder Nebeker, who came from Arctic indigenous heritage; in the language of the Sami people, the title word refers to a form of song that evokes another person.