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Andrew Bird picture, image, poster
Andrew Bird

Date of birth : 1973-07-11
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Lake Bluff, Illinois
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2012-07-05


Andrew Bird is an American folk indie musician, born in Lake Bluff, Illinois and which now resides in the Chicago area. Bird is a singer, a violinist and, since 2004, a guitarist. He is also an accomplished whistler.

His early work, which echoed gypsy jazz and traditional folk, has led into his current sound, which mixes rock with more broad compositions. His years of solo song-craft have now enabled him to produce a sound that is uniquely his own.

Trained by the Suzuki method from a young age and a graduate of Illinois’ Northwestern University, Bird released his first solo album, Music of Hair, in 1996. Vastly different from his later releases, this first album showcases his violin skills and pays tribute to his fascination with both American and European folk traditions, as well as jazz and blues.

His initial commercial exposure was in collaborative work with the band Squirrel Nut Zippers. He was quickly lumped in with the swing craze that swept the United States music industry in the mid ’90s; this is an affiliation that he is still working to shed.

Taking on the role of band leader in 1997 with Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire, he released the album Thrills. This was followed by Oh! The Grandeur in 1998. Both albums were heavily influenced by traditional folk, pre-war jazz and swing, with Bird relying on the violin as his primary musical instrument.

Bird made his network television debut on April 10, 2007, performing "Plasticities" (from the new album) on the Late Show with David Letterman. He also appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on June 14, 2007, performing "Imitosis" from the same album. In April 2007, he did a Take-Away Show acoustic video session shot by Vincent Moon. These appearances were accompanied by an extensive tour, which ended with sell-out performances at the Beacon Theater, New York and the Orpheum Theater, Los Angeles.

In January 2007, Andrew Bird made an appearance on the Noggin television network's Jack's Big Music Show, playing the part of Dr. Stringz and appearing in order to mend a character's broken dulcimer. Bird sang a brief song called "Dr. Stringz", written specially for the show. He now often plays it live as an introduction to the song "Fake Palindromes".

On May 20, 2007, National Public Radio aired a live concert by Bird from Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club He also worked with Reverb, a non-profit environmental organization, for his 2007 spring tour.

Five of his songs – "Banking on a Myth" from "The Mysterious Production of Eggs," a medley of "I" from Weather Systems and "Imitosis" from "Armchair Apocrypha," and "Skin" and "Weather Systems" from Weather Systems – have been licensed for use by Marriott Residence Inn.

Since March 2008, Bird has contributed to "Measure for Measure," a New York Times blog in which musicians write about their songwriting process. In it, he has charted the development of the song "Oh No," previewing samples at various stages of development through to the finished album recording. He also discussed the conception of the song "Natural Disaster," the recording of instrumental piece "Hot Math," and previewed "Master Sigh." The first two songs were later released on Bird's 2009 album "Noble Beast," whilst the latter two appeared on its bonus disc "Useless Creatures."

In December 2008, Bird appeared in the second series of Nigel Godrich's From the Basement alongside Radiohead and Fleet Foxes. His performance included a preview of new song "Section 8 City," a ten minute re-imagining of "Sectionate City," which originally appeared on the "Soldier On EP."

Bird's fifth solo album, "Noble Beast," was released on January 20, 2009, and contained fourteen new songs, with bonus tracks available for download from iTunes and eMusic. "The Privateers" is a re-imagining of a very early song entitled "The Confession" from 1999's "Oh! The Grandeur." A limited deluxe edition of the album included alternate packaging and artwork, as well as an all-instrumental companion disc entitled "Useless Creatures." The entirety of "Useless Creatures" was made available via Bird's website during the run-up to the release. "Noble Beast" has been met with generally favourable reviews, receiving a score of 79 out of 100 from review collation site Metacritic.

In 2009, Bird contributed a cover of the song "The Giant of Illinois" to the HIV and AIDS benefit album "Dark Was the Night" produced by the Red Hot Organization. On May 11, 2009, Bird released the EP "Fitz and the Dizzy Spells." It contains "Fitz and the Dizzyspells" from "Noble Beast," as well as other songs from that album's recording sessions. Some of the songs on the EP were previously available for download from iTunes and eMusic as bonus tracks to "Noble Beast."

In 2010, Bird recorded with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, contributing vocals and violin on a cover of "Shake It and Break It" on "Preservation: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program."

In late 2011 Bird signed to the record label Mom+Pop. Andrew Bird's first release for the label was the soundtrack to the film Norman, which included his original score as well as songs by other artists. Bird sequenced the soundtrack to flow as a stand-alone album rather than a compilation of music from the film. Its music supervisor, Peymon Maskan, told HitQuarters: "The best compliment I've heard is that without having seen the film, you can imagine it by listening to the soundtrack. The sequence is a big part of that effect."

On December 6 Bird announced a new album Break it Yourself, the follow up to 2009's Noble Beast.

Albums released:

Music of Hair (1996)
Thrills (1998) (with Bowl Of Fire)
Oh! The Grandeur (1999) (with Bowl Of Fire)
The Swimming Hour (2001) (with Bowl Of Fire)
Weather Systems (2003)
Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs (2005)
Armchair Apocrypha (2007, Fat Possum) #76 US
Noble Beast (2009, Fat Possum) #12 US
Break it Yourself (2012, Bella Union [UK]; Mom+Pop [US]) #10 US, #46 CAN


View the full website biography of Andrew Bird.
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