Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Rise From the Mountains-Birds and Arrows

I have written before and continue to say that when you go out and see live music, you need to make sure that you see all of the bands on the bill. A few years ago I went to a show and saw Birds and Arrows,  who have become one of my favorite bands. They were actually the first of four bands that night and truthfully I did not expect much from them. They walk out on stage with a guitar, drums, and a cello, and I had even less expectations from them. They launch into their first song and I was mesmerized by them. Richness, depth, clarity, and beautiful harmonies set a spell on me that continues until this day. I champion them to everyone I meet and talk about music. Now I want to introduce them to you. I will admit that I have become very good friends with them, so I am bias, but the beauty of this blog is that Larry and I are trying to introduce you to bands that we love to listen to and therefore are biased about. We don’t pretend that these are critical reviews of records or live shows. It is just bands we love.

Birds and Arrows formed in 2006 by the husband-wife team of Andrea and Pete Connolly. They still live in the Chapel Hill-Durham, North Carolina area, which is a hotbed for bands now like The Rosebuds, Love Language, and The Bowerbirds. Their name comes from a cross of wanting a good masculine-feminine sound and when Andrea had flying birds tattooed on her arms and Pete was making folk art arrow sculptures, the name made sense to the two of them. They produced two Birds and Arrows EP’s on their own. Then in 2009 Josh Starmer joined them with his cello and the group’s sound really took off. They released Starmaker through 307 Knox Records. This is when I saw them for the first time. I fell in love with their mountain and folk influenced sound, which made you feel like you are sitting on the porch of their house and listening. Andrea and Pete’s harmonies are so beautiful and lush and when combined with Josh’s cello, the depth of the music is stunning. They then released We’re Gonna Run in 2011. This year they just released their new album Coyotes, which is a huge step forward in their career. You can hear the inspiration of their rural school house-turned-cabin country home in the mountains outside of Durham. Please enjoy a song from Coyotes called Firefly. The video was done in one continuous shot, no cuts or edits.Very cool.

I also want to include a live video my favorite Birds and Arrows song Mountain Air:

The new album is fantastic.  It is produced by Chris Stamey of the dB’s and he has done a great job with it. It features other musicians from Ben Folds Five, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Mount Moriah (another N.C. band on the rise). However while these people help support Birds and Arrows, the songs and music stand on their own. I can feel the confidence in the new songs and I look forward to their continued growth. I have worked their merch table many times and I can also tell you that they are some of the nicest people I have ever met in the music business. They are kind, considerate, humble, and very down to earth as people. I really encourage you to visit their web site and purchase the new album. It will be worth it.