I get the feeling that talented and accomplished musicians like Andrew Bird are influenced by nearly everything they ever hear. That is likely not hyperbole as the violinist, guitar player, glockenspielist, vocalist, songwriter, and noted expert whistler has cited Irish, English, and Scottish Folk music, as well as jazz musicians like Johnny Hodges, Lester Young, and Fats Waller, along with classical musicians like Debussy, Ravel, and Bartok and genres like swing, calypso, and the blues as early influences.
Born in 1973, Bird began playing the violin at the age of four. After graduating from high school in 1991 he attended Northwestern University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in violin performance in 1996 and soon after self-released his first solo album, Music of Hair. Shortly thereafter he worked with the band Squirrel Nut Zippers, appearing on three albums with them. Beginning in 1998, with his band Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire, he released three albums. The Swimming Hour, the third of these albums, received a 9.0 from Pitchfork. In 2002 Bird performed solo and was very well received opening up the possibility of a solo career.
Bird has been on Ani Di Franco’s Righteous Babe label, Mom + Pop, as well as Fat Possum and has appeared on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, NPR’s Tiny Desk Series, with The Muppets and on Noggin. He has performed with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and scored the FX series Baskets. His songs have appeared on The Young Pope and Orange is the New Black. His most recent studio album is Are You Serious which was released in 2016 and he is currently working on a series of site-specific improvisational short films in which he records in acoustically interesting places including a cave here in Utah. He also works as an advocate for a number of causes. know that I am very much looking forward to this week’s Twilight Concert Series with Andrew Bird as the headliner and hoping for a glockenspiel and whistling heavy dose of baroque pop!
*Blog post contributed by William Wright