The video for the track “Three White Horses” from Andrew Bird’s Hands of Glory (out now on Mom + Pop Music) has premiered on VEVO and can now be streamed at http://youtu.be/3yzNN3Zukl8. Bird celebrated the new record’s launch with an acoustic “old-time” performance of “If I Needed You” on “The Late Show with David Letterman” featuring special guest Tift Merritt and bassist Alan Hampton. The performance took place in an empty Ed Sullivan Theater due to Hurricane Sandy and can be seen here.
A companion piece to the critically acclaimed full-length record Break It Yourself, the new record is the product of a pair of recording sessions prompted by the overwhelming response to Bird’s “old-time” sets on recent tours. Reinterpreting songs from Break It Yourself and featuring covers of classic country tunes, these “old-time” performances find Bird and his full band playing to a single microphone with an entirely acoustic setup. Drawing inspiration from these sets, Hands of Glory features two brand new original tracks, a new interpretation of “Orpheo Looks Back” from Break It Yourself and covers of Van Zandt, the Handsome Family, Alpha Consumer and others.
“The past three summers now we’ve had these band get-togethers at my barn in western Illinois,” Bird recalls. “They begin with little more pretense than to capture the way we make music together. After a few days sleeping, eating and jamming under one roof we get increasingly inspired and ambitious about what we’re doing.” Of recording the new record, he notes that, “Hands of Glory begins with two songs we actually recorded in a church in Louisville on a day off on our July tour. The rest was recorded around a single microphone at the barn in August. We ended up putting the drums on the back porch. I hated to exile Martin like that but it just sounded better. ‘Something Biblical’ I started writing in July well into the severe drought that hit the Midwest this summer. I kept having dreams of a great flood. Nothing biblical—just a local deluge. The day we left the barn it rained pretty hard.”
Bird has added more intimate solo “Gezelligheid” performances this winter, bringing them to Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church December 19-21 and, for the first time, New York’s Riverside Church December 10-11. Appropriating a Dutch term that loosely translated means “cozy,” the performances concentrate mainly on instrumental violin pieces amplified only by Bird’s signature giant Victrola horns. Bird notes, “What I hope to do with these shows is adapt my music completely to the atmosphere of the space and the season. I want the audience to be both lifted and comforted as we head into another cold and dark winter. I feel the space should be sacred so the audience can experience my music in a different atmosphere.” Bird will also be performing with his full band at Minneapolis’ State Theater December 17; See below for a list of dates.
In addition to the North American dates, Bird will be collaborating with Songkick and their new crowdsourcing platform Detour to launch the first fan-funded tour of Latin America February 17-28. Fans in 12 cities across nine countries will be given the power to decide which cities he performs in as well as aid in funding the concerts. For additional information go to http://detour.songkick.com/andrewbird.
Produced by Bird, Break It Yourself was recorded at his barn in Western Illinois near the banks of the Mississippi River. Paired with the album’s deluxe CD package is the DVD Here’s What Happened. The thirty-minute performance film was shot at Bird’s barn during the recording of the album and captures the energy of the room in which the new release was conceived. Footage from Here’s What Happened of Bird performing the track “Eyeoneye” can be viewed at http://bit.ly/GNr9gi.
ANDREW BIRD, HANDS OF GLORY
1. Three White Horses
2. When That Helicopter Comes
4. Railroad Bill
5. Something Biblical
6. If I Needed You
8. Beyond the Valley of the Three White Horses
ANDREW BIRD TOUR
* Gezelligheid performance
November 8 Roundhouse London, England
November 10 Aula Magna Lisbon, Portugal
November 12 Sala Apolo Barcelona, Spain
November 14 Magazzini Generali Milan, Italy
November 16 Crossing Border Festival Enschede, Netherlands
November 17 Crossing Border Festival The Hague, Netherlands
November 18 Crossing Border Festival Antwerp, Belgium
November 19 Amager Bio Copenhagen, Denmark
November 20 Pustervik Gothenburg, Sweden
December 10-11 Riverside Church (12/10 SOLD OUT) New York, NY*
December 17 State Theater Minneapolis, MN
December 19-21 Fourth Presbyterian Church (ALL SHOWS SOLD OUT) Chicago, IL*