Premiere: Birksie Debuts With Blustering Folk Rock Passion in “Tug of War”

Birksie "Tug of War" © David Od
Birksie "Tug of War" © David Od
Birksie (formerly Quinn Lewis) shines with a bold and bright folk rock fervor on “Tug of War,” wearing his heart on his sleeve in an emotionally charged anthem of intimate connection and open communication.
for fans of Noah Kahan, Hozier, The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons
Stream: “Tug of War” – Birksie




When it comes to a relationship, I didn’t want to throw my arms up and celebrate that I dragged my partner over to my side.

There’s nothing worse than fighting with your loved one, but more importantly, there should be no winners and losers when it comes to love.

This sage, timeless advice is good for anyone and everyone seeking a healthy, stable relationship, and it’s also the premise of singer/songwriter Birksie’s debut single – a song that aches from the inside out with the desire to resolve things amicably and move forward together as one. Birksie shines with a bold and bright folk rock fervor on “Tug of War,” wearing his heart on his sleeve in an emotionally charged anthem of intimate connection and open communication.

Tug of War - Birksie
Tug of War – Birksie
You said it with a smile,
pickin’ up where we left off
If one of us has gotta be right,
the other ones gotta be wrong
Colouring the lines,
reaching for the green and red
When you make up your mind,
it’ll be a weight off my chest

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Tug of War,” the start of something very special. After taking a year away from the spotlight following the September ’22 release of his sophomore album, Heartbreak Hall of Fame, Birksie – formerly Quinn Lewis – is a fresh start with an irresistible sound and a world full of possibilities ahead.

We previously praised Lewis’ talents for crafting craft honest, intimate songs glowing with musical warmth and soul-stirring vulnerability: “He’s got the Midas voice, turning mere words into slippery, glistening gold before our very eyes and ears. The singer’s soulful croon is so potent, that he doesn’t need instrumental layers behind him to sell a song. He’s able to create and hold tension alone.” That same artistic core clearly holds true for his new endeavor, as “Tug of War” is unapologetically honest, candid, tender, and true.

Birksie "Tug of War" © David Od
Birksie “Tug of War” © David Od



The 27-year-old Australian artist, based in Nashville, Tennessee (where he also works as a songwriter and collaborator for other acts) for nearly ten years now, has found his voice anew in an identity that is sure to reveal its full scope in time. But for now, Birksie can’t help but call to mind folk rock’s modern day greats: Hozier, Noah Kahan, etc. – songwriters and storytellers in tandem, who seem to leave a piece of their souls in everything they release into the world.

“I’ve written countless songs with an insane amount of people who inspire me to keep chasing that dream we’re all a little crazy enough to dream… but for the first time in all those years I started writing songs that gave me an itch to play live like I’d never had before, and that’s where Birksie was born,” he shared via social media a few months back. “I spent the last year pretty much offline working on a collection of songs I’ve never been more proud of and that sound like me more than ever.”

In short, Birksie is a truer, more authentic – and folksy – version of the singer/songwriter than we’ve ever seen or heard previously. It feels only fitting, then, that he would introduce himself through a song that balances catchy melody with lyrics that cut to a visceral human core. Birksie comes to a fever pitch in a catchy and cathartic climax that attempts to make amends with his partner and move on with their love intact. He sings in the chorus:

I said, we’ll figure it out
If you can figure your shit out
My bad, didn’t mean to come off like that
Digging my heels in
’cause I can’t stand the feeling
That it crossed your mind to leave and I,
I tried to sugarcoat it, it don’t feel right
If I’m being honest
I’m scared to let it go
watch us fall through the floor
I don’t wanna win it
if we’re stuck in a tug of war
Birksie "Tug of War" © David Od
Birksie “Tug of War” © David Od



“When I think of ‘Tug of War’ the game with the rope and the ribbon, I always picture one team pulling the other team over the line and celebrating that they won,” Birksie tells Atwood Magazine. “They got the other team on their side. But when it comes to a relationship, I didn’t want to throw my arms up and celebrate that I dragged my partner over to my side. I wanted us to meet in the middle and meet there because we love each other.”

“That’s the inspiration for my song ‘Tug of War.’ When we started producing it, it felt like the perfect song to launch the new Birksie sound. I hope when people hear this they hear me and they get as excited as I am about this song and what’s to come this year.”

You’re stubborn like a bull,
walkin’ in a china shop
And I’m spinning all the plates,
waiting for the last one to drop
I could see it from your side,
if you didn’t try to pull away
If one of us has gotta be right,
then who’s gonna take the blame?

It feels as though this entire song is one long, achingly vulnerable message of reconciliation spoken to one’s partner not in the heat of the moment, but after the storm has passed – once emotions have cooled, and heads are thinking clearly again. Consider this the kickoff to one of those foundational heart-to-heart conversations you remember for the rest of your relationship.

Birksie "Tug of War" © David Od
Birksie “Tug of War” © David Od



That Birksie can capture all that intense emotion and condense it down into a two minute, 22-second experience is a testament to his skills on the mic and his talents with the pen.

Lewis has long been one of our favorite singer/songwriters, but somehow Birksie feels like an altogether fresh face – with a voice of pure, rich, and radiant gold.

Forged in the fires of our rawest, realest moments, “Tug of War” is sincere, sweet, and stunning: A love song we’ll be singing all year long, and the very beginning of a beautiful new adventure we’ll be following closely over the months ahead. Doesn’t it just make you wanna… stomp and holler?

My bad, didn’t mean to come off like that
Digging my heels in
’cause I can’t stand the feeling

That it crossed your mind to leave and I,
I tried to sugarcoat it, it don’t feel right
i
f I’m being honest
I’m scared to let it go
watch us fall through the floor

I don’t wanna win it
if we’re stuck in a tug of war

— —

:: stream/purchase Tug of War here ::
:: connect with Birksie here ::
Stream: “Tug of War” – Birksie



— — — —

Tug of War - Birksie

Connect to Birksie on
Twitter, TikTok, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © David Od
creative director Aaron Stearns

:: Stream Birksie ::



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