I love to recommend Andrew Bird to friends because his music is perfect for so many occasions—road tripping, studying, taking a walk…the list goes on. The best word I can think of to describe his sound is calming, and like his name, his music is closely connected to nature (so much so that one of his signatures is whistling like a bird).
First and foremost, Bird is a brilliant violinist. On his last project from 2015, an EP called “Canyons”, each song was written for and performed in a specific site within the Utah Cayote Gulch canyons. The whole album is just a guy, his violin and whatever natural sounds are recorded around him. It’s great.
My favorite albums of his are “Armchair Apocrypha” (2007), a sweet but melancholy LP, and “Break It Yourself” (2012), which in my opinion is the most fleshed out representation of what his music is. Those are good places to start, but his discography is essentially mistake-free.
The best artists are the ones who can evolve successfully. Bird is one of my favorite current musicians not just because his music is fantastic, but because he’s always experimenting and changing up his sound. “Capsized”, a song he released last week as the first single from his upcoming album, is a pretty strong diversion from his past work—it’s a Bill Withers-inspired tune with a heavy emphasis on rhythm, and Bird uses his violin to sound almost like an electric guitar.
If you’re into his music, Bird will be playing at The Showbox on Thursday, May 19.
Songs to start with: “Armchairs”, “Placticities”, “Lusitania”