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Premiere: Poet Bones Explores the Death Cry of a Crow in New Documentary

“If you can make someone feel good with two chords? That’s cool.”

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By Zach Collier

As his eyes passed over the picked through shelves, examining secondhand records in search of hidden musical gems, he paused his attention on an old 45. A mysterious title, Death Cry of a Crow, was etched across the cover. Thinking it must be an old blues song, Utah musician Keaton Stewart bought it from the Provo DI for a whopping 50 cents.

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“When I got home and put it on my turntable,” he says. “To my surprise what came out of the speakers was what I can only describe as a guy doing a screeching crow call for 5 minutes straight on both the A and B sides. Shocked, I took a deeper look at the label and realized that it was an old game call record used for hunting.”

Realizing his mistake, he laughed himself to tears. But in the days that followed, he couldn’t help but wonder what could have been. What would “Death Cry of a Crow” have sounded like?

Lucky for Stewart, he had the skills to make that fantasy a reality.

Poet Bones (from left to right): Michael Moreno, Carter Koyle, Keaton Stewart, and Tyler Christensen.
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Keaton Stewart is the frontman of Poet Bones, a roots rock band laden with blues and classic rock influences. He was formerly in the hardcore band I Capture Castle and the alternative act [Native/Tongue]. He played Warped Tour 13 and 14 and has opened for major acts like Black Veil Brides and Saving Abel.

Poet Bones began as his solo project in 2017. “The name comes from my two male cats, Bones & Poet,” Stewart says. “I wasn’t sure what to call the project because I didn’t just want to pull the ole ‘Keaton Stewart Experience.'” His wife jokingly said to name it after the cats. In the years since his debut EP, Tyler Christensen came on as drummer and Carter Koyle and Michael Moreno joined the fray on lead guitar and bass respectively.

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The group got to work on Stewart’s concept. “After a few months of deliberation I came up with a kind of folklore for the lyrics,” Stewart says. “The death cry of a crow would be something feared by those on their way to the gallows.” He imagined outlaws who believed that seeing a crow on the way to their demise meant the devil himself was appearing in crow form to take them to hell.

That’s h*ckin rad.

The album art for “Death Cry of a Crow” by Poet Bones.
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While recording, the group used a lot of foley effects to give the track more life, like smacking drum sticks against a half-empty Jack Daniel’s bottle, using group stomps and claps, and the pièce de résistance: sampling the original Death Cry of a Crow from the DI on a portable record player and using it throughout the track.

This entire process was captured by Gary Becker of Pinehouse Media in a short documentary called Let the Good Times Roll: A Film About Poet Bones. It takes a candid look at the recording process for their new record, Poet Bones & The Comatose Tones, which took place at Bamboo Audio, June Audio, and Archive Recordings.

The new record is an ambitious endeavor. It features Jerry Cortez of Tower of Power, Taylor Richardson of Royal Bliss, and April Draven of Down River. A release date is yet to be announced, but “Death Cry of a Crow” is out now on Spotify.

A Provo Music Magazine exclusive, you can watch Let the Good Times Roll: A Film About Poet Bones below before its wide release later this week.

Stewart is proud of the band’s work. “With Poet Bones, I wanted to make music like I grew up with and ultimately always desired to play.”

Producer Clayton Blue is echoed Stewart’s enthusiasm for the end product. “If you can make someone feel good with two chords? That’s cool.”

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