Photos: Conor Oberst & Big Thief in Royal Oak, Michigan

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Photos: Conor Oberst & Big Thief in Royal Oak, Michigan

Conor Oberst and Big Thief are a musical history lesson encompassing nearly a quarter of a century. In 1993, Oberst’s brother, Justin, funded his debut album, Water, on Lumberjack Records for a school project alongside Mike Mogis, who would eventually join Oberst on Bright Eyes. That label soon transformed into Saddle Creek, the indie safe-haven that would nurture a thriving stable of bands including Rilo Kiley, The Thermals, Hop Along, Cursive, The Faint and Tokyo Police Club. Big Thief are the latest signees to the Omaha-based institution, and they are wonderful. Like Oberst, Big Thief vocalist Adrianne Lenker relays haunting narratives that tumble along fragile notes, shaping stories and melodies that become indistinguishable from one another. Oberst and Big Thief are currently touring throughout the United States, with Hop Along joining in July (!!!) Photographer Reva May caught their stop in Royal Oaks Michigan, capturing the stark, majestic atmosphere in the monochrome gallery above. The imagery complements Oberst’s stripped-down, excellent 2016 release Ruminations nicely—the full-band version, Salutations, is much brighter.