THE LAST couple of years have been a long and winding journey for Laura Burhenn.
She and her longtime boyfriend broke up. She moved away from Omaha. She traveled the world. And everywhere she went, she wrote new songs.
They ended up on The Mynabirds' third album, "Lovers Know," which came out on Saddle Creek Records last month.
After touring for her last album, Burhenn spent a year on the road as a member of the Postal Service. When she returned, she felt uncertain about a lot of things, so she packed up again and traveled the world.
She criss-crossed the U.S. twice and spent some time in Los Angeles. Then she went to South Africa for a solo tour.
"I felt really lost and was doing whatever I could to feel more lost," she explained to me. "I wanted to heighten that feeling and really feel it."
"Lovers Know" is for sure a break-up record, but it's more than a collection of songs saying, "I'm so sad. So very, very sad."
"Believer" owns up to feeling lost. "Semantics" is about getting perspective. "One Foot" is about continuing to move forward. "All My Heart" declares that she still wants love, and she wants it bad.
"There is this seed of hope," Burhenn said.
There's also a sense of being grateful for the happy times in her relationship even if it's over now.
And on "Omaha," she sings about leaving town, though some lyrics make it sound like "Omaha" is a codeword for her ex.
Still, she misses the city.
"Omaha, those are my people," Burhenn said. "It's a rare thing in the world where you go to a place and you find your people. I definitely did that. I still very much consider it home."
Burhenn wants to perform the song when she returns this weekend, but she's not sure she can do it.
She confessed she still can't listen to it without crying.
"It is a love song to Omaha," she said. "For that reason, anyone who's from Omaha or knows me really well will feel that real bittersweetness about it."
The Mynabirds' first two records were soulful rock albums. Recorded by producer Richard Swift, they were made live in the studio and had a very warm, real feel.
For "Lovers Know," Burhenn turned to producer Bradley Hanan Carter of indie rock band Black English.
Carter's production style was more hip-hop: Record all the parts, cut them into pieces and rearrange.
With Burhenn's songwriting and soulful voice, the record still has her regular vibe, but it's also full of '80s pop synths, a bit of shoegazey guitars and electronic drums.
They spent an entire year writing and recording, and nothing was precious. Carter had no problem telling Burhenn he thought an arrangement was boring or scrapping something and starting from scratch.
"It's nice to work with a perfectionist," Burhenn said. "I can't imagine doing the songs with someone else."
with Bad Bad Hats, High Up
When: 9 tonight
Where: Slowdown, 749 N. 14th St.
Tickets:$10 at theslowdown.com or at the door
Info: theslowdown.com or 402-345-7569