ABOUT BIRDS OF CHICAGO
American Flowers, the revelatory Signature Sounds debut from acclaimed husband and wife led band, Birds of Chicago, will be released on Friday, November 17th, 2017.
Known for their "near perfect Americana" (No Depression), JT Nero and Allison Russell had recently finished recording their sprawling rock and roll circus of an album, Love in Wartime, co-produced by Luther Dickinson ( North Mississippi All Stars), to be released next April on Signature Sounds. Nero had a suite of six songs that didn’t feel quite at home on Love in Wartime. Having recently relocated to Nashville, they decided to throw themselves their own welcome to town party by recording an acoustic E.P. at Steve Dawson’s Henhouse Studio. New friends like Kenneth Pattengale of The Milk Carton Kids, and Maya de Vitry of The Stray Birds got in on the fun, and the Birds emerged after a couple days with the raw, spontaneous, and warm American Flowers. The E.P. is Love in Wartime’s cousin from the country, and it rounds out Birds of Chicago’s offering of healing, communion and celebration of life in a dark and troubled time.
The centerpiece of the E.P. is "American Flowers", a song that Birds of Chicago offer as a healing anthem to listeners.
I have seen American flowers all across this land
From the banks of the Shenandoah, along the Rio Grande
Do not fear the winter blowing in the hearts of men
I have seen American flowers they will bloom again
Nero and Russell write:
At a moment in our history that feels particularly toxic, and menaced with a shape shifting but growing sense of dread, we want American Flowers to be a healing balm... To slip this radical idea back into our consciousness:
Most people are good people.
Strong, fragile, volatile, rock steady, broken, often lost… but GOOD. Loving.
Most people in this country are good people. Most people in this World are good people.
We’ve been saying it like a mantra of late. We travel from town to town, red state to blue state, all over the globe, and no matter what, we believe this to be true. There is much work to be done. There are arguments to be had, vehement ones… but … we couldn’t say it any better than Billy Bragg, who reminded us this summer: Empathy is our currency. This has always been true, and it has never felt more so.
So, for now, we want to get small, put you in the hearts and minds of a few different folks, a few different Americans. Humans. See and feel through their eyes for a minute.
American Flowers, each one. And each of you as well.
Partial proceeds from American Flowers will benefit Chicago's South Side based Teen Living Programs- a non-profit that builds community, hope and opportunity for youth who are homeless and at risk.
Birds of Chicago began in 2012 when Nero started writing for his vocal star-muse, Russell. Both were accomplished singer/songwriters with projects of their own, Nero with JT and the Clouds and Russell with the acclaimed Canadian roots outfit Po’ Girl, but together there was an unmistakable chemistry. A cross border band was born.
Stark, elemental imagery that feels like scripture, or a lost folk song recovered; the Birds draw heavily on the gospel tradition and the music feels like a new, secular gospel of sorts. For Birds of Chicago, every word counts. Every note counts. No gold-dusting, no filler. Music is the good news and Real Midnight, the band’s poignant 2016 Joe Henry produced album, throbbed with an urgency that felt quietly seismic.
Music this raw and soul-rich demands to be experienced live, and Birds of Chicago have developed a fervent following, touring 200 nights a year since their formation in late 2012. For these Birds, singing for a room full of new people, hearts wide open, keeps off the cold and chases off the shadows. In 2018 the Birds will be bringing American Flowers and Love in Wartime to a town near you. Rock and Roll will save our souls. Or, it’s got as good a chance as anything.