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Andrew Bird: Songs from the 'Armchair'

Andrew Bird incorporates his trademark string arrangements and intelligent lyrics into a batch of strong, alluring pop songs.
Andrew Bird incorporates his trademark string arrangements and intelligent lyrics into a batch of strong, alluring pop songs.

My radio colleagues often lament that they haven't had very forthcoming interviews with Andrew Bird. That's not my experience. The prolific multi-instrumentalist may be unassuming, but he's always anxious to get his story straight. Bird's music is so accessible, with striking melodies popping out of the mix on every song, but it's also immensely satisfying listen after listen. His latest album is called Armchair Apocrypha. In this session, he goes beyond that album's intricacies with new arrangements; the extended take on "Imitosis" is a particular delight. It's an honor to spread the word about Andrew Bird.

More About Andrew Bird

After graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in violin performance, Bird released his debut album (Music For Hair) in 1996. Displaying his talent for the violin as well as his fascination with folk, jazz and blues, the record helped him land him gigs playing for bands like Squirrel Nut Zippers in the late '90s. With Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire, he continued to explore traditional jazz, folk and swing traditions, and released 1997's Thrills and 1998's Oh! The Grandeur to positive reviews. Swimming Hour saw Bird trying a different tack, with songs that introduced more rock into his eclectic style. His next two discs, 2003's Weather Systems and 2005's Mysterious Production of Eggs, demonstrated his continued growth as a pop songwriter.

Recorded with electronic musician Martin Dosh, the new Armchair Apocrypha continues Bird's trend toward a more crowd-pleasing sound, with traditional rock instrumentation featured more prominently than on his other releases. Bird has not, however, sacrificed his trademark string arrangements and intelligent lyrics; instead, he's found a way to incorporate them into a batch of strong, alluring pop songs.

Producers of NPR's World Cafe, Y-Rock On XPN and XPoNential Music On Demand, Philadelphia's WXPN showcases heritage and emerging artists in rock, blues, folk and beyond.

Copyright 2007 XPN

David Dye
David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.