Squirrel Flower
Collective Concerts Presents

Squirrel Flower

Drake UndergroundTorontoON
$15.00
Ages 19+
Advance tickets also available at Rotate This & Soundscapes

Ella O’Connor Williams, also known as Squirrel Flower, was born on August 11th 1996, the hottest day of

the year, still inside of a translucent caul sac membrane, surrounded by amniotic fluid. Born with a

membrane between her and the rest of the world, yet still very much connected to and dependent on a

larger life force. It’s this origin story that inspired the name of Squirrel Flower’s new album I Was Born

Swimming .

Williams comes from a deep-rooted musical family tree. Her grandparents were classical musicians who

lived in the Gate Hill Co-op, an artistic cooperative from upstate New York that grew out of Black

Mountain College. Ella’s father, Jesse Williams, spent most of his life as a touring jazz and blues

performer and educator, and lends his bass playing to the album (listen for his smooth solo on

“Headlights”). Growing up in a family of hard working musicians fostered a love of music and started

Williams down her own musical path. As a child, Williams adopted the alter ego of Squirrel Flower. A

couple years later, she began singing with the Boston Children’s Chorus while studying music theory and

teaching herself to play the guitar. As a teen, she discovered the Boston DIY and folk music scenes and

began writing, recording, and performing her own songs, now returning to the name Squirrel Flower as

her chosen moniker. By the time Williams had begun performing live, recording and touring she was

already well on her way to the signature artful songcraft heard on the album.

Squirrel Flower’s music is ethereal and warm, gushing with emotional depth that the listener can step into

like a warm bath. The band on I Was Born Swimming plays with delicate intention, keeping the

arrangements natural and light. The album was tracked live, with few overdubs, at The Rare Book Room

Studio in New York City with producer Gabe Wax (Adrienne Lenker, Palehound, Cass McCombs). The

musicians were selected by Wax and folded themselves into the songs effortlessly. At the heart of the

album lives Williams’ massive, haunted vibrating voice and melancholic, soulful guitar playing. The

sounds expand and contract over diverse moods, cutting loose on the heavier riffs of “Red Shoulder” or

“Streetlight Blues,” both recorded in her hometown of Boston, and holding back with atmospheric restraint

on “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or “Belly Of The City”.

I Was Born Swimming begins with an Iowa drive down I-80 and continues to travel, poetically, between

her college town of Grinnell Iowa, Boston, MA and New York City where the album was recorded.

Throughout the 12 songs, landscapes change and relationships shift, “There’s so much in the record

about movement and stagnation. Feeling stuck, needing to move, needing to stay still, swimming, falling,

running, growing, etc etc.” said Williams. The album’s lyrics feel like effortless expressions of exactly the

way it feels to change — abstract, sad and hopeful.

Williams eventually returns to the image of her in the sac; born swimming, knowing how to exist, love

herself, and not needing anyone else to do it for her.

Born swimming in blue water

Didn’t ever need another

Now I live underwater.

Heat’s rising

Can you see it shimmer?

I’m spinning

Can you see me shimmer?

I’m moving faster than it

Can you see me shimmer?

So dip me in the water.

Venue Information:
Drake Underground
1150 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON, M6J 1J3