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BIRDS OF CHICAGO

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“Nero and Russell play folk-rock with impressionistic flourishes and gospel warmth, lent unexpected extravagance by Russell’s singing…” —NPR

Following their incendiary set at Third Man Records, NPR Music named Birds of Chicago one of the Best of Americanafest 2018. The band continues to ride a swell of good mojo that they’ve enjoyed in the Americana world since their inception, with live shows that alternate between moments of hushed attention and wild, rock and soul abandon.

Birds of Chicago have been riding a swell of good mojo in the American world since their inception in late 2012. With their new album, Love in Wartime, they are set to both confirm that roots world buzz, and break on through to a wider audience across the world.

Recorded in Chicago against a backdrop of bewilderment, deep-divide and dread, Love in Wartime is a rock and roll suite with a cinematic sweep. Co-produced by Nero and Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), it evokes epic efforts of the 60’s and 70’s, with love as the undeniable throughline. As Russell puts it, “Any act of love is an act of bravery. These songsare snapshots of covenants, big and small, of trust and understanding. We want to give peoplesome good news, and we want them to be able to dance when they hear it.”

When BOC released it’s last album, the Joe Henry produced Real Midnight, in 2016, critics scrambled to find the right terminology to describe the deep lyricism, gut-punch singing andfevered musicality. . . “Secular gospel” Was one phrase that caught some traction. That fervor isevident in Love in Wartime as well: “Roll Away the heavy stone/roll away the heavy hours/rollon in the summer mon/who’s alive who’s alive who’s alive?” The invitation is joyous, but urgant. . . call it “secular gospel,” or call it what they used to call poetry intoned over roots music mash- ups: rock n roll. The Birds consider themselves a rock and roll band first and foremost, and Love in Wartime doesn’t leave any doubt about that. [expand title=”Read More”]

Built around the chemistry and fire between Allison Russell and JT Nero, the band has included a core band of empathetic assassins since it took to the road full time in 2013. Russell and Nero played with different bands in the mid-aughts (Po’ Girl and JT and the Clouds) before findingtheir way to each other. Nero found himself a transcendent vocal muse in Russell (a powerful writer in her own right) and the band honed its chops on the road, playing 200 shows a year between 2013-17. All that shaping and sharpening, oer so many miles, led them back toChicago’s Electrical Audio in January of 2017, to begin recording. The first day in studio was inauguration day, and they didn’t need any more motivation than that to do what they came todo.

The Birds attract a mix of indy rockers, NPRists, jam-kids and folkies to their gigs, which alternate between moments of hushed attention and wild, rock and soul abandon. Says JT Nero,chief songwriter for the band, “A good show can send you back out into the night feeling–for at least a little while–that everything isn’t broken. . .Right now, we wanna dose out as much of that feeling as we can.”

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DAILY SCHEDULE
 
FRIDAY
 
Shenandoah Mtn Stage
1:00pm  The Hollering Pines
3:00pm  Hush Kids
5:30pm  Peter Rowan
8:00pm  Mandolin Orange
10:30pm  The Wood Brothers
 
Blue Ridge Timberwright Stage
12:00pm  Allison & Tatiana
2:00pm  Cedric Burnside
4:15pm  The East Pointers
6:45pm  Charley Crockett
9:15pm  The Lil Smokies
 
The Roots Stage
1:00pm  Courtney Hartman
3:00pm  Kristin Andreassan
5:30pm  Oliver Bates Craven
8:00pm  Sam Reider & The Human Hands
10:30pm  Larry Keel
 
The Kinfolk Stage
1:00pm  Appalachian Stories
2:00pm  For Goodness Snakes
4:00pm  Red Wing Academy
5:00pm  Dirt Road Sweethearts
6:15pm  The Steel Wheels’ Kids Set
7:15pm  Square Dance
 
The Hill Stage
2:00pm  The Wildmans
3:30pm  Courtney Hartman
5:00pm  Corner House
6:30pm  Allison & Tatiana
8:00pm  The Judy Chops
 
 
SATURDAY
 
Shenandoah Mtn Stage
1:00pm  Jordan Tice
3:00pm  River Whyless
5:30pm  Della Mae
8:00pm  The Steel Wheels
10:30pm  Lucinda Williams
 
Blue Ridge Timberwright Stage
12pm  Locust Honey
2:00pm Cedric Watson Trio
4:15pm  Lonely Heartstring Band
6:45pm  Feufollet
9:15pm  Fruit Bats
 
The Roots Stage
1:00pm  John R Miller
3:00pm  Lula Wiles
5:30pm  Kaia Kater
8:00pm  Square Dance
10:30pm  Big Daddy Love
 
The Kinfolk Stage
1:00pm  Appalachian Stories
2:00pm  Birds of Prey
3:00pm  The Fernandez Sisters
4:00pm  Cedric Watson & Danny Knicely, brought to you by Kline’s Dairy Bar
5:00pm  The Bright Siders
6:00pm  Corner House
 
The Hill Stage
2:00pm  Oliver Bates Craven
3:30pm  Locust Honey
5:00pm  Justin Jones
6:30pm  Lula Wiles
8:00pm  Jordan Tice
 
 
SUNDAY
 
Shenandoah Mtn Stage
12:00pm  Dead Horses
2:00pm  Birds of Chicago
4:30pm  Lindsay Lou
6:45pm  Gibson Brothers
 
Blue Ridge Timberwright Stage
11:00am  “Gospel” Set
1:00pm  Sean McConnell
3:15pm  Tim O’Brien Band
5:45pm  Tribute Set
 
The Roots Stage
12:00pm  The Wildmans
2:00pm  Justin Jones
4:30pm  Fireside Collective
 
The Kinfolk Stage
1:00pm  The Fernandez Sisters
2:00pm  Pick Along Jam Session
3:30pm  Dogwood Tales
4:30pm  Saw Black

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