Singer, violinist, whistler, glockenspieler, the brilliant Andrew Bird is on tour this summer with his new band, the Hands of Glory, comprised of guitarist Tift Merritt*, stand up bassist Alan Hampton, drummer and Bowl of Fire alumnus Kevin O’Donnell, and Eric Heywood on pedal steel.
Eponymously named after Bird’s 2012 companion album to Break it Yourself, the band is described as “an old timey acoustic configuration”. They’ll be bringing the huddled-around-one-microphone approach to their summer shows, singing heady three-part harmonies where the sound mingles in the air before it hits the mic.
Chicago-based Bird is a trained violinist since the age of four, spending his formative years soaking up classical repertoire by ear. In his youth, he was interested in early jazz, country blues, gypsy music and swing, going on to synthesize an ever-expanding range of music into his unique and innovative brand of art-pop.
With Hands of Glory, Bird is on a quest to cut away the extras to get to the pure and potent basics. We’ll be treated to a raw, folksy, neo-traditional sound that is roots-true to the spirit of Americana music, folk, bluegrass and gospel – as well as true to Bird’s iconoclastic spirit.
An El Paso Sun Times writer says, “I became a fan for two reasons — he’s great to listen to when you’re sitting on the ground, and the guy is a musical powerhouse.”
*Tift Merritt also performs as a soloist at the festival!