Wednesday 23 Jul

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Bird’s-eye view

Bird’s-eye view

Even in his early years, prodigious songwriter and violinist Andrew Bird blurred the lines between modern and classical music.

Joshua Boydston June 11th, 2014

Andrew Bird & the Hands of Glory with Tift Merritt
7 p.m. Sunday
Cain’s Ballroom
423 N. Main St., Tulsa 
(918) 584-2306 

Photo: Shervin Lainez

Most people know Andrew Bird as a musician, songwriter and world-class whistler. But he’s something of an anthropologist, too, shining a light on the things many have forgotten.

A young Bird — consumed by classical music, jazz and early European folk — dedicated his life to mastering the violin, eventually graduating from Northwestern University with a full-fledged classical training.

It was sometime during those college days, though, that Bird yearned to spread his wings and put the instrument he carried so near and dear to his heart out of the background and into the spotlight. And that necessitated approaching things in a whole new way.

“There were years of playing clubs in Chicago and figuring out how not to sound like a mosquito,” Bird said with a laugh. “That’s what a lot of violins in bands sound like, to be honest — this little, thin buzzing sound that gets buried. I had to quit thinking like a violinist and start thinking like a rock guitarist.”

The Chicago product’s foray into modern music — one originally based in folk and jazz before sprouting into the chamber pop-inflected indie folk — rubbed many of his instructors and classmates the wrong way, his colleagues viewing it as a sort of cop-out at the cost of a more noble purpose.

“With a lot of my relationships with my professors, there was friction. A while back, I went to play at my music school in the same concert hall I performed at for years, and no one in the music school came. Not a soul thought of me being of that realm, but neither did I,” Bird said. “There’s a lot more understanding in the classical world of non-classical realms now, but there was this big wall for the longest time.”

Performing Sunday at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Bird himself has played a big part in breaking down that wall, equipping the violin the way most songwriters arm themselves with a guitar. His profile seemingly cemented, Bird’s tendency to bring personal treasure into the light of day has a new target.

Following last year’s classical leaning EP, I Want To See Pulaski at Night comes Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of..., a full album of Handsome Family covers released last week. The little-recognized, husband-wife alt-country duo has kept its nose to the grindstone for over 20 years now, despite never garnering the type of success Bird believes the pair deserves.

Landing the main title theme to crime drama phenomenon True Detective this year was a big step in that direction, and Bird hopes Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of... can help that trend soar upward.

“[The Handsome Family’s] best songs, to me, they do what great songs do,” Bird said. “They say something lyrically with as few words as possible, which is hard to do these days with the English language. They’ve always been what I turn to, to remind me what to shoot for. I learn one of their songs every couple of months, so it was only a matter of time before I did this.”

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