Americana Duo Birds Of Chicago To Release Self-Titled Debut October 2


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Birds of Chicago
NPR eTown Episode To Air Beginning August 8

U.S. Tour Aug 21-Nov 10 Includes Two-Month Stint With Sean Hayes

Hometown Record Release Show On November 10 At Old Town School Of Folk Music

Chicago, IL: Birds of Chicago, a collective based around singer-songwriters/ instrumentalists JT Nero and Allison Russell, are set to release their eponymous debut album on October 2, 2012.

Comprising twelve original songs, Birds of Chicago immediately soars into flight with the protracted leap of its lead track, “Trampoline,” an infectious bass- driven bastion of communal joy being shared for free at BirdsOfChicagoTrampoline.

From there, the journey fluidly glides throughout the canon of American music, from the gospel-infused harmonies levitating “Cannonball,” to the simmering soul of “Before She Goes,” to the Cajun-spiced polka of “Sans Souci,” to the sparse, yet sprawling, “rock & roll is dead and in its grave” soliloquy encircling “Old Calcutta” to the rustic waltz of “Galaxy Ballroom” through to the deep burning sojourn of “The Moonglow The Tapeworm”.

Its destination of migration has been an organic one.

On 2011’s Mountains/Forests, released under the JT Nero banner, the two singers struck a definitive chord, tapping into the true, bewitching power of their voices together on an entire record. Featuring a full cast of characters that would round out the “Birds of Chicago” ensemble — the Clouds and Michelle McGrath, a luminous singer and picker from the hidden hills of Southeast Ohio, the collective amassed a cavalcade of praise on both sides of the Atlantic.

Separately, Russell notched further acclaim, collaborating with Dom Flemons of Carolina Chocolate Drops on a “modern string band” project called Sankofa with singer Ndidi Onukwulu and percussionist Sule Greg Wilson. The resulting album The Uptown Strut showcased Allison’s elegant sunset, “If Wishes Were Gold”.

Parallel golden roads positing an evolutionary flight path.

At the beginning of 2012, JT and Allison took to Kickstarter to raise funds, which poured in, allowing them to set up shop in Chicago’s Humboldt Park with engineer Zach Goheen, whom previously produced records by Russell and Nero’s respective bands, Po' Girl (Vancouver, BC) and JT and the Clouds (Chicago, IL).

Arresting cresting soon bore fruit.

ETown co-hosts Nick and Helen Forster have dubbed them “the dynamic duo” as Nero’s fractured country-soul wraps Russell’s silver and gold tones with a warm embrace. Imagine a youthful Van Morrison taking a delightful vocal stroll with Emmylou Harris or the intermingled majesty of Richard & Linda Thompson on their 1974 debut or Peter Yarrow and Mary Travers taking turns blowing in the wind and the proper frame of mind arrives in due time.

A frame of mind invigorated by a sublime intertwine of subtle scents of pine.

Not too perfect, not at all saccharine, echoes of mountain gospel, street corner doo-wop, classic soul seamlessly dangle from the vine. Accompanied by just a banjo and a guitar, it’s chilling. Fired by a full band, it’s a full tilt revival appealing to Jamband land as well as fans of Raising Sand (by Robert Plant and Allison Krauss), Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes and Grateful Dead.

The Birds’ “Sugar Dumplin’” glistens with the glaze of “Sugar Magnolia,” announcing its grace as a fresh-faced American beauty!

Much like Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir’s Uptown Jug Champions, Nero and Russell are most at home on the road - pick almost any night in the next thousand days and you can bet they will be at some theater, pub, winery, VFW hall, roller rink (they wish), living room or historical landmark under a moonlit sky dovetailing their voices, singing their songs of hope, despair, love...and electric seahorses. And honey bee apocalypses. And coconut ice cream. It's familiar and strange - the everyday and the magical.

Whether touring as a duo or with the full family band, Nero and Russell have emerged as “two of the most compelling new voices in American Roots music” as noted by the Chicago Sun-Times. The duo is gearing up for a run of dates from August 21 to November 8, with eight weeks of shows with acclaimed “dirt-road” folkster Sean Hayes. Select festival dates include Pickamania, Strawberry Music Fest, The American River Music Fest, The Roots Music Fest at Joshua Tree as well as several shows with Matt The Electrician and a hometown album celebration on November 10 at the Old Town School of Folk Music.


JT Nero: songs, vocals, guitar, percussion
Allison Russell: songs, vocals, clarinet, banjo, ukulele, guitar


“Dynamic duo” eTown
“This year’s biggest roots surprise.” L.A. Times
“Songwriting genius.” Five star review; Maverick-UK
“Slinky, vulnerable and reverent of the Memphis soul of yore.” Chicago Tribune
“Two of the most compelling new voices in Americana roots music.” Chicago Sun-Times

Birds Of Chicago Tour Dates

  • Aug 21 - Cincinnati, OH @ American Roots Summer Series (Fountain Square)
  • Aug 23 - Ridgefield, CT @ C.H.I.R.P. (Ballard Park)
  • Aug 24 - New York NY @ The Living Room
  • Aug 30 - Yosemite, CA @ Strawberry Music Fest (Camp Mather) [7:30pm]
  • Aug 31 - Yosemite, CA @ Strawberry Music Fest (Camp Mather) [4:30pm]
  • Sep 01 - Yosemite, CA @ Strawberry Music Fest (Camp Mather)
  • Sep 02 - Yosemite, CA @ Strawberry Music Fest (Camp Mather)
  • Sep 09 - Silver City, NM @ Pickamania (Gough Park) [2:15pm]
  • Sep 14 - Lotus, CA @ American River Music Fest
  • Sep 15 - Lotus, CA @ American River Music Fest [11:00am]
  • Sep 16 - Lotus, CA @ American River Music Fest [7:30pm]
  • Sep 18 - Arcata, CA @ The Arcata Playhouse (with Matt The Electrician)
  • Sep 22 - Chico, CA @ Origami (with Sean Hayes)
  • Sep 24 - Petaluma, CA @ Lagunitas Taproom (with Sean Hayes)
  • Sep 28 - Berkeley, CA @ Poplar House Concert
  • Sep 29 - Santa Cruz, CA @ Rio Theater (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 02 - Ashland, OR @ Unitarian Church (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 03 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 04 - Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 05 - Bellingham, WA @ Wild Buffalo (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 06 - Vancouver, BC @ The Biltmore (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 07 - Bend, OR @ Mandala (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 11 - San Diego, CA @ The Casbah (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 12 - Santa Barbara, CA @ Soho (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 13 - Santa Ana, CA @ OC Constellation Ctr (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 14 - Joshua Tree, CA @ Roots Music Fest
  • Oct 15 - Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 16 - Flagstaff, AZ @ Center For The Arts (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 17 - Santa Fe, NM @ Santa Fe Sol (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 19 - Austin, TX @ Lambert’s (with Matt The Electrician, Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 20 - Austin, TX @ Lambert’s (with Matt The Electrician, Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 21 - Houston, TX @ Mucky Duck (with Matt The Electrician, Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 24 - Birmingham, AL @ Moonlight On The Mountain (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 25 - Louisville, KY @ Uncle Slayton’s (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 26 - Asheville, NC @ The Lab (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 29 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s (with Sean Hayes)
  • Oct 30 - New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge (with Sean Hayes)
  • Nov 02 - Cambridge, MA @ Lizard Lounge (with Sean Hayes)
  • Nov 03 - Plainfield, VT @ Haybarn Theatre, Goddard College (with Sean Hayes)
  • Nov 04 - Ithaca, NY @ Unhaunted Mansion (with Sean Hayes)
  • Nov 07 - Maumee, OH @ The Village Idiot (with Sean Hayes)
  • Nov 08 - Spring Lake, MI @ Seven Steps Up (with Sean Hayes)
  • Nov 10 - Chicago, IL @ Old Town School of Folk Music
  • Dec 05 - Gaithersburg, MD @ Theatre at the Arts Barn
  • Dec 16 - Fort Atkinson, WI @ Café Carpe (with Peter Mulvey)
  • Jan 11 - Morro Bay, CA @ Coalesce Bookstore
Jan 12 - Templeton, CA @ Castoro Wine Cellars

This story appears courtesy of 1888 Media.
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