Breathe Owl Breathe is a band from East Jordan, Michigan which consists of Micah Middaugh, Trevor Hobbs, and Andréa Moreno-Beals.Breathe Owl Breathe’s first four albums were with a small Michigan based record label Earthwork Music, run by friends and fellow folk musicians Seth Bernard and May Erlewine. On September 28, 2010, Breathe Owl Breathe signed to Hometapes to release their fifth studio album Magic Central.
The way Breathe Owl Breathe likes to tell their story, their collective journey started in the parking lot of the Boyne City Dairy Queen, when Micah, a printmaking student at Grand Valley State University, had a chance meeting with Andréa, a lifelong student of classical cello about to start at Oberlin College. There at the DQ, over a half-chocolate, half-vanilla soft serve cone, something clicked between the two young musicians. They began making music together, traveling to each other’s schools to collaborate. They released two albums—Fall Album in 2004, and Climb In in 2005—weaving an organic, folk-influenced sound with lyrical inspiration drawn from the natural world.
They wrote songs about caves, marshlands and black bears, and created lovely vocal harmonies between two seemingly disparate voices: Andréa’s ethereal, warbling soprano, and Micah’s broken, sing-speak baritone. Though spare and beautiful, the albums had a loose, living room–performance vibe, which changed when Trevor joined the mix. Canadian Shield in 2007, followed by Ghost Glacier a year later, marked a deepening of the band’s sound. The music became more textured and tight, while still maintaining a homespun feel.
Through this growth, Breathe Owl Breathe’s wide-eyed wonderment remained one of its trademark—and perhaps most endearing—qualities. “I feel like I shouldn’t call a band charming … [but] Breathe Owl Breathe is a charming band,” wrote a reviewer at Portland’s The Oregonian during the band’s Northwest tour in spring 2010. Words like “whimsical” and “clever” are often used to describe the band, and many media mentions, including Paste magazine’s full-page piece on the band in the June/July 2010 issue’s “Best of What’s Next” section, have likened the sound to a sort of musical Shel Silverstein.
Even the band members get stumped when asked to describe their sound—they look up at the sky or down at their hands awhile before responding with an answer like “swimming.” A more traditional description: They make music feel like a 3D experience, through storytelling, smart arranging, and creative instrumentation.
Breathe Owl Breathe tour nationally and internationally, having gained significant attention from the press in the last few years, especially on public radio. Their latest albums have also been released on vinyl. Micah and Trevor also produce a side project Person Place or Thing, which developed from jam & recording sessions at their local grocery store.