Watch Bird play songs from "Hands of Glory" and talk stripped down recording at his Billboard Tastemakers @ Sunrise session.
Photos: Andrew Bird's Tastemakers Session
Andrew Bird has gone back to basics. The indie favorite has been releasing music (both solo and with various bands) since 1996, and has seen plenty of stylistic shifts over that time. For a pair of 2012 releases, Bird eschewed elaborate recording styles for a sound that would let his time-tested folk tunes have a bit more room to breathe. One recent morning, Bird and friends -- including fellow noted singer/songwriter Tift Merritt, guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker and bassist Alan Hampton -- took to the deck of The London West Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles to perform "Three White Horses," "Something Biblical," and "Give It Way" from his October 2012's stripped-down album "Hands of Glory." The Billboard Tastemakers @ Sunrise session also found Bird musing on how bringing music to fruition has changed for him, what his live experience is like, and more.
"I transitioned to the more performance-based recording style because I just think it sounds better, Bird told Billboard Tastemakers in an exclusive interview. "It has more energy, and sonically as well."
Bird's pair of 2012 albums - "Break It Yourself" and "Hands of Glory," saw plenty of love on the Independent Albums chart when they were released, peaking at 1 and 9, respectively. The former was recorded on a lean seven tracks (quite low for a record featuring a full band) and the latter was recorded largely around a single microphone. "There's no post-production, so there's no fixing it in the mix, there's no sculpting it," says Bird. "There's a sense of searching and groping in the songs. So I can lean a little bit right or a little bit right on that record."
Bird and his bandmates took the rootsy, analog vibe to heart when picking gigs for this coming festivals season, of which he mentions the Newport Folk Festival as an obvious choice.
"I like to just jump in there and get onstage and use the audience energy," says Bird of his live routine, even if it is over laid-back, acoustic tunes. "Whenever I watch a soccer match, I imagine being on the field. I think that can happen with the audience- what if I was him up there? I try to roll with it, and that creates an energy at the show."
Bird will spend February 2013 touring Mexico and Central America, before heading back to the States for a handful of gigs, including a stop Apr. 26 at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.