Page France

Page France's Myspace page!

By Brad East

WHEN: 2004-2008

CULPRITS: Michael Nau (vocals, guitar, keyboard), Whitney McGraw (vocals, glockenspiel, keyboard), Clinton Jones (drums), Jasen Reeder (bass) / Miscellaneous: B.J. Lewis, Bryan Martin, Chris Morris, Matt Smith, David Tracy

ALBUMS: Come, I’m a Lion (2004); Hello, Dear Wind (2005); Pear / Sister Pinecone EP (2006); Tomato Morning EP (2006); …and the Family Telephone (2007)

HOW: I was introduced to Page France in the most dramatic and immediate of ways. In the fall of 2006, I randomly bumped into my old freshman roommate, Kyle, on campus and, he being one musically in the know, asked him what he was listening to at the moment. He gave two bands: Horse Feathers and Page France. I took (and take) Kyle’s word on music as gospel truth, so the moment I got back to my apartment, I found Page France on iTunes, and upon listening to a single 30-second clip, I immediately ordered the entire album. This was back in my antiquated days of valuing the tangible CD, so after waiting a few days I held in my hands Page France’s sophomore work, Hello, Dear Wind.

Put simply, it was a masterpiece.

WHY: As I continued playing the album, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and more, how no one had told me about them. It was sincere astonishment. The lyrics, the consistency, the fun, the thematic arc, the power and swells and climactic outros — everything was perfect!

My favorite story about the power of Hello, Dear Wind is from later that fall, when visiting home in Austin. I was at my friend Heath’s house, and we were heading over to my house across town in separate cars. I was dying for him to hear the album, but in the glory of its fullness, so I gave him the CD with the explicit instructions to listen to it in its entirety, with no distractions, the whole way over. As I got out of my car 40 minutes later, having arrived at my house, I walked over to his car only to see the windows down, the gentle, closing chords of the last song filling the quiet air, as Michael Nau’s laconic, hopeful voice faded away. Heath’s face said it all: he’d been had. And he was hooked.

SONGS: For a while I wasn’t interested in doing a list for Page France, because I didn’t feel like the rest of their catalogue matched the singular achievement of Hello, Dear Wind. Their first album is a healthy step in the right direction, and the later EPs and third (and, prematurely, last) album went in different, more goofy, less substantive directions. I even considered just making the 80MFL mix the whole of Hello, Dear Wind and leaving it at that.

However, as I listen to the 26-song mix, it is actually exactly the sort of eclectic, oddly representative experience of encountering the music of Page France that a newcomer needs. It is unapologetically all over the place, intimating obsessions with odd and mundane and transcendent themes, acoustic and experimental and bursting with life — all rooted in the fantastic worlds woven by the poetry and thin but numinous voice of Michael Nau.

All I can say for this mix is: hang in there; it’s a wild ride.

THERE’S MORE: Though the band called it quits early, Nau and McGraw have formed a new collaboration called Cotton Jones, which has already released one full-length album. I have no doubt this is not the last we will be hearing from them!

LINK: Click on the list below to view the 80MFL iMix or go listen to Page France for free on!

Click the list to hear PAGE FRANCE for FREE on!


“Goodness” from Hello, Dear Wind

“Chariot” from Hello, Dear Wind

“Mr. Violin and Dancing Bear” from …and the Family Telephone


Brad East is co-creator and editor of 80 Minutes For Life, and blogs at Resident Theology. He is currently in the middle of his Master’s of Divinity at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and loves Wilco, Mexican food, the San Antonio Spurs, and attending midnight showings at the Alamo Drafthouse with his wife. Also, he is from Texas.

~ by Brad East on October 26, 2009.

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