“We could be a break in the chain”: Humbird’s ‘Right On’ Is an Honest, Playful, & Weathered Midwestern Reverie

Humbird © Juliet Farmer
Humbird © Juliet Farmer
Humbird’s Siri Undlin takes us track-by-track through her impassioned, electric third album ‘Right On,’ a warm Midwestern reverie full of raw grit, intimate reflection, and infectious, unrelenting energy.
Stream: “Child of Violence” – Humbird

Humbird’s Siri Undlin is searching for meaning, one song at a time.

And while her third album has more questions than answers, one gets the sense that just by knowing what to ask, the singer/songwriter is taking steps in the right direction. A record of grit, reflection, and human connection, Right On is a warm Midwestern reverie: Undlin purges her heavy heart and weary soul in ten passionate and weathered folk songs reckoning with the world around her and the one within.

Right On - Humbird
Right On – Humbird
Another one from the church pew
Would the son of God be angry or just confused?
Another witch hunt under the blazing sun
Another white man standing with a hot gun
Another blue sky morning
In the land of the free to believe
Lies on the Internet and the glamor of money
Missing the real thing
I could be a break in the chain
You could be a break in the chain
You could be a piece of the change
When you talk about it call it by it’s name
– “Child of Violence,” Humbird

Released April12, 2024 via Nettwerk Music Group, Right On is the “Humbird goes electric” album of Siri Undlin’s career: A conscious sonic shift in the Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter’s musical palette brings out a new range of colors and emotions, expanding the breadth and depth of her work while still staying true to the artistry Atwood Magazine‘s Coco Rich previously described as “folk and Americana music wrapped in a gentle rebellion.”

Produced by Shane Leonard and featuring multi-instrumentalists (and longtime collaborators) Pat Keen (bass, synth, percussion) and Pete Quirsfeld (drums and percussion), Right On follows 2021’s sophomore album Still Life, and is an undeniable and exciting evolution for Undlin’s 8-year-old project.

Humbird's Soul-Stirring “Right On” Aches With Tender Folk & a Timeless Warmth


“I feel like this record is a crossroads between disparate stories,” Undlin tells Atwood Magazine. “But behind the scenes, it’s a record that came to be with friends playing their hearts out, live and to tape. There was an intention to keep the story simple and hopefully all the more satisfying as a result.”

“I am generally a person who goes into the studio with an open mind and a lot of curiosity about what will unfold with certain collaborators. As we recorded, I definitely got more and more excited as we landed on sounds that were new for this band, louder and less gentle and drawing on inspiration from heroes like Neil Young and Sheryl Crow, just to name a couple.”

“This album is definitely a grittier take on the world as I witness and experience it,” she continues. “While previous records were more focused on quiet reflection and intimate moments, this album is much more outwardly-oriented, a response to a world that can be so hard and also beautiful.”

Humbird © Juliet Farmer
Humbird © Juliet Farmer

Undlin describes Right On as an honest, playful, and weathered record.

The album’s title, she says, just fit her mood and mindset throughout its creation. “Maybe it’s weird to say, but that phrase is how I felt when we wrapped the process. So it felt like the natural choice.”

Album opener and title track “Right On” begins the record not with a raucous rush of sound, but with a sweetly seductive folk serenade – one that places Humbird’s unflinching lyricism and evocative vocal performance at the front of the mix, supported by warm acoustic guitar patterns, warbling keys, and dusty drums. It’s the kind of song whose silences feel as loud as its crescendos; a cathartic exhale aching with the weight of experience.

I’m not crying but I wish I could
Heart snapped off like plywood
How will I sand these scales from my skin?
I just want to be soft again
I was right on in loving you
And dead wrong in thinking we couldn’t lose
Right on in loving you
And dead wrong in thinking we couldn’t lose
What is it about the space between?
We fit so much inside and then find it empty

“‘Right On’ is one of those songs that seemed to just exist all of a sudden – I was lucky enough to catch it with a pen,” Undlin smiles. “In recording the album as a whole, the band in the studio pretty quickly latched onto the phrase as an inside joke of sorts, one we used to encourage each other as we made the music. Towards the end of the process, ‘right on’ had deepened into a mantra and guiding ethos – one that felt like it represented the spirit of what we were working to create. Right on for showing up, right on for giving it our best, right on even if it’s hard, right on for the way music inhabits space and time. Right on for learning as you go…”

Undlin picks up the electric guitar and cranks up the overdrive on “Cornfields and Roadkill,” a slow blues rocker reminiscent of the emotionally charged upheavals on Neil Young’s seminal Harvest: She deftly lets the song swell to its natural cathartic climax, pouring her full self into an intense, shiver-inducing performance. The heated yet hopeful “Child of Violence” is another standout; amidst swirling effected guitars and propulsive drumming, she calls out white supremacy’s legacy and offers to be “a break in the chain“). “Seven Veils,” another highlight, is a gentle, tender, and soul-stirring enchantment calling to mind Tango in the Night-era Fleetwood Mac.

Humbird finds catharsis and a reason to look up in the album’s heartfelt finale “Song for the Seeds,” a song whose sense of hope and renewal is as catchy as it is inspiring. “Through the cracks one seed at a time I give back what was never mine,” Undlin sings, resolved to make – and look forward to – a better and brighter tomorrow.

Oh cosmo, where do we go
It’s big out there and so hard to know
What it means, but you’re out there dancing
Could it be as simple as catching the breeze?

“I’m proud of the writing on this record while also wanting to continue growing and exploring what’s possible with words and melodies together,” Undlin smiles. “‘Ghost On The Porch’ makes me laugh out loud because I can’t believe that we somehow found this ridiculously fun arrangement for such a dark and somber ballad. I’m confused and delighted by where the collaboration of our brains took us with that one.”

Humbird © Juliet Farmer
Humbird © Juliet Farmer

All told, Right On is a spirited and smoldering soft rock record defined by Midwestern grit and an understated grace.

“I hope people hear their own experience in it and feel validated, empowered,” Undlin shares. “I learned that recording to tape is extremely fun to do. I also learned that slowing down and being patient can be more exciting in the long term than rushing around. I’m sure I’ll keep learning as the songs move through the world and interact with people and places. I’m looking forward to that a lot.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Humbird’s Right On with Atwood Magazine as Siri Undlin goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her third studio album!

— —

:: stream/purchase Right On here ::
:: connect with Humbird here ::
Stream: ‘Right On’ – Humbird

:: Inside Right On ::

Right On - Humbird

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Right On 

A laid-back reflection on what it means to be right, how it feels to be wrong, and how trying your best is a worthy endeavor because either way, right on. You’re right on.

Cornfields and Roadkill

A biting, petty-esq rocker focused on the theft of land in North America and the ways in which we have converted living ecosystems into fields of mono-crops.

Blueberry Bog 

A jovial romp through apocalyptic dreams that may or may not be real. Energetic guitar playing threads through lyrics that transport you from a northern woods hike to a city dive bar.

Child of Violence

Swirling phaser pedals and a retro feel characterize a raw exploration of white supremacy and the ways in which it travels through generations, poisons us and the systems we navigate. The song’s chorus offers a different way forward.

Seven Veils 

This song slowly cooks with a steady beat and reflective arrangement, diving into the space between encounters with the ones we love. There’s what’s real and then there’s what we imagine could be real.

Ghost On The Porch 

An original song written in the ballad form, telling the story of a ghost on the porch with an important message. The arrangement nods to the folk and bluegrass tradition with instrumentation while also incorporating the weirdly catchy beats of a drum machine and other experiments.

Fast Food

A co-write with long-time collaborator Pat Keen.  This song is of the indie rock variety with heavy-hitting drums and classic song form that paints the picture of life on the road and one too many stops at Taco Bell.

Quickest Way

Sometimes the quickest way to get a hold of someone is through a dream. This Beatles inspired sonic palate explores what happens when the ones we love leave our lives.

Song for the Seeds

A celebratory song, an ode to seeds and plants and the ways in which we can learn from their movements and habits. Using synths to explore new sonic territory on the record and leaving the listener with a catchy chorus at album’s end.

— —

:: stream/purchase Right On here ::
:: connect with Humbird here ::

— — — —

Right On - Humbird

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