“‘Fellow Travelers’ wasn’t supposed to be a full length record, so I’m a little surprised to admit that it’s my favorite Shearwater album so far. It was meant to be a small thing to release between ‘Animal Joy’ and the next full length. But it took on a life of its own. Re-imagining and renovating songs by the bands we’ve toured with was like leafing through a scrapbook, and brought back the highs and lows of a decade of touring.
“Touring is an expression of faith - in yourself, in your friends, in the hope that the world has a place for you. In that spirit, I invited all the bands we covered to play on ‘Fellow Travelers’, with the caveat that you couldn’t play on your own song. Almost everyone rose to the bait: Chris from the Baptist Generals turned Clinic’s ‘Tomorrow’ into a stomping incantation, while Clinic infected the Generals’ ‘Fucked Up Life’ with drum machines, radio signals, and combo organ. I added recordings I made of birds and waves in the Falklands to David Thomas Broughton’s ‘Ambiguity’, and he sent us a tape he made of sparrows, bulbuls, and the clanking shovels of highway workers in Pyongyang, North Korea, which we spliced into our rock- anthem version of Xiu Xiu’s ‘I Luv the Valley OH!!’. And Jenn from Wye Oak, who, like us, had also toured with Lou B, added vocals to ‘Natural One’.
“Leon Trotsky, who gave the words ‘fellow travelers’ their political aura, once wrote that “a protest against reality, either conscious or unconscious, active or passive, optimistic or pessimistic, always forms part of a really creative piece of work.” Listening back, I get a feeling of common effort, of common purpose, among all of our different musical paths; we’ve all tried to defy or transform reality in small ways with our music, and to prove it with our performing lives.” - Jonathan Meiburg, Shearwater, March 2013.