Our southwest spring run started with a dance down Tornado Alley to the Blue Door in OKC, followed by a happy return to Fayetteville,AR - we played a fantastic new venue called Stage Eighteen, presented by the Fayetteville Roots Fest - both with special guest, dear friend, and brilliant musician, Raina Rose.
Then we had the privilege of playing the Woody Guthrie Center’s 4th Annual Celebration this weekend alongside some of our favourite musical brethren and sistren …. We played Saturday, and were fortunate to be able to stay for Sunday’s program. Jimmy Lafave closed the night, and we feel lucky beyond words to have been there. Jimmy is a singular voice, a singular artist, a singular human, and to feel the Guthrie family and a roomful of Oklahomans love their champion and favorite son so fervently, and for him to return it in kind, drawing on impossible reservoirs of strength to power through a full set…suffice to say, any words you could muster feel cheap and feeble...Just glad we there to there to add our love and thanks, and grateful our daughter was able to be in that number as well.
Now we’re making our way down to Texas - the monsoons and tornadoes have blown over and the sun’s returned. We play Houston’s legendary McGonigel’s Mucky Duck tonight - this will be our last acoustic trio show with the divine Mandy Fer (anyone who has come out to see us in April has felt the soft caress/ razor talons of Mandy Fer, making her first turn with us Birds on lead guitar- we've been pals and super fans of her work with Dave McGraw & Mandy Fer for years- we’re so thankful we were able to grab her for some shows- she'll be with us through most of May, and here and there in the future, when schedules allow- we love her alot) and then we’re reunited with our dearly beloved bandmates and favourite rhythm section in the world - Christopher Merrill on bass and Nick Chambers on drums for a big band blowout at the legendary Stubb’s in Austin, TX on May 3rd- this is our first Stubb’s show. We respectfully ask you to swarm this venue with your many physical selves, and lift us up with your unblemishable hearts. We’ll also be reunited with the magical Raina Rose as our special guest for both of these Texas shows.
What else? New Mexico - the answer is New Mexico! The answer could almost always be New Mexico - to any question you could pose - but we just mean to what comes after Texas in this mind blowing tour. We’ll be playing a free show at Music in the Gardens in Silver City, May 5th, then teaming up with another family band, Colorado’s TAARKA , for two shows - May 6th at the Taos Mesa Brewing Company and May 7th at The Dirty Bourbon in Albuquerque,NM presented by Neal Copperman’s wonderful AMP Concerts
Then it's back to the Great Lakes for three shows in Michigan and a Chicago/Milwaukee homecoming. All the venues are firsts for us - May 11th at The Magic Bag in Detroit, May 12th at The Freshwater in Boyne City, May 13th at Park Theatre in Holland - and May 20th, we'll play Colectivo’s Back Room in Milwaukee for the first time. And on May 31st (the day after Alli’s bday - so this doubles as a birthday celebration- you’re only 38 once), we will play the incredible Thalia Hall in Chicago for the first time. We share the marquee with Canada's First Lady of folk-soul, Frazey Ford (of Be Good Tanyas) ... What a night it's gonna be. We waited a whole year in between Chicago shows, so we wanted to make this one something extra special... There is a rumor that we will sneak preview the entire upcoming yet to be released new album, Love in Wartime ( co-produced by the great Luther Dickinson) for our hometown fans at this show, I started this rumor, and I am ready to substantiate it. That's what's gonna happen. This show will feature the full cadillac All Star band that recorded the album including Clouds alumni and Birds originals Brother Drew Lindsay (also a short story writer, professor and hip hop scholar extraordinaire at Chicago’s Art Institute) and Dan Abu-Absi ( if you haven’t yet heard Dan’s Chicago based band Radio Free Honduras you should), Nick and Chris of course on the drums n’ bass, and Alli’s fellow Canadian Joel Schwartz on blistering lead electric guitar. We’ll be taking some requests from our back catalogue as well- hit us up on FB or reply to us here and we’ll accommodate as many as we can…We'd so much appreciate your help spreading the word- it's a mighty big room...
Then we get into festival mode starting with a return to Nowhere- Over the Rhine’s beautiful love-in Nowhere Else Fest - in Southern Ohio, Memorial Day Weekend. We’ll be playing sets of our own on Saturday and Sunday and joining Phil Madeira and the Red Dirt Boys and all star cast of musicians for a special tribute set of Mark Heard songs too. We were honoured to contribute a cover to this upcoming tribute album -Treasure of the Broken Land: The Songs of Mark Heard which will be out June 2nd. You can hear our version of Mark’s Rise From the Ruins courtesy of Relix song premiere . We’ll be all over the map, fest hopping this summer in Canada (Canada!) and the United States- we are thrilled to be playing the Calgary Folk Fest- the line-up is insane, and the North Country Fair for the first time, and also Live Oak Festival for the first time in Southern California - there are many more Fest dates yet TBA.
We’ll also be returning to Europe in Spring of 2018 - more on that soon...
Come fall, we'll be looking to get some of this music we've recorded out to you. We told you about Love in Wartime, but did you know about the 6 song acoustic EP we just recorded in Nashville? It's called American Flowers, we cut it live on one joyous afternoon and eve at Steve Dawson’s Henhouse with some intensely special guests to be named soon…
Enough for now. Love in and at all times --
Finally, Birds of Chicago are heading for a proper Southeastern tour! It's been too long, and we like to think it's something Southeasterners talk about a lot amongst themselves in diners, barber shops, quilting bees etc. We couldn't be more excited.
We'll be playing songs off of Real Midnight and airing out new material as well. The run kicks off with an appearance at Safety Harbor Song Fest and will also include a stop at Knoxville's Rhythm N' Blooms Fest. Dates are listed below.
Let's cluster some positively charged souls together in a room and see how it feels. We can tell you. It feels good. See you soon.
4/1 - 4/2 - Safety Harbor Song Fest - Safety Harbor, FL
4/4 - Eddie's Attic - Decatur, GA
4/5 - The Evening Muse - Charlotte, NC
4/6 - Isis Music Hall - Asheville, NC
4/7 - Rhythm N' Blooms Fest - Knoxville, TN
4/9 - Cat's Cradle - Carrboro, NC
4/12 - Gypsy Sally's - Washington, DC
4/13 - The Southern - Charlottesville, VA
4/15 - North Shore Point - Norfolk, VA