The Bird that Cannot Fly

“Andrew Bird is easy to appreciate musically because his style is so completely innovative that he is not comparable to any other artist,” said UVU student and recent concert attendee Benjamin Buxton.

With the release of his new album Noble Beast on Jan. 20, Andrew Bird has proven himself once again. As has been demonstrated throughout each of his albums, Bird is a creative prodigy.

Born in Illinois in 1973, Bird began laying the foundations for his music when he picked up a violin at the age of four. As a teenager, he developed an eclectic taste for Hungarian Gypsy music, early jazz, country blues, and South Indian music.

In 1996, Bird graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in violin performance. Since then, the multi-instrumentalist has been inventing hauntingly beautiful music with lyrics that could paint a canvas.

“Artists tend to either stray too much from their original style or not be sufficiently experimental,” said UVU student Tyler Osmond. “Andrew Bird has been very steady in crafting his albums. Each one has been satisfyingly unique, and yet has remained undoubtedly true to Andrew Bird.”

In his newest album, Bird once again displays his unearthly abilities on violin, guitar, vocals and whistling. He is accompanied by the gifted Martin Dosh, Jeremy Ylvisaker, and Mike Lewis, each of whom handles multiple instruments as well.

The variant tempo created by the interplay of numerous dissimilar instruments is eerily stimulating in combination with Bird’s airy whistling and soothing vocals.

The lyrical brilliance of this album is overwhelming with lines like “Love of hate acts as an axis, first it wanes and then it waxes, so procreate and pay your taxes,” which gets bluntly and beautifully to a cynical point.

Bird has succeeded in creating his own ethereal universe with the release of NOBLE BEAST, and in it we have the opportunity to experience a portion of his reclusive genius.

“It is obvious that he is a master of every instrument he plays,” said Provo resident Rebecca Ricks. “It’s as if he’s been playing from birth.”

He played at In the Venue in Salt Lake on Feb. 25, and those who were fortunate enough to attend fell prey to Bird’s highly transcendental performance.

“He is extremely versatile on stage; he’ll be doing five things at once,” Buxton noted. “It was as if he was conducting a private symphony and we were the exclusive witnesses.”

Bird’s live cabaret is unlike anything attempted by another musician.

“The complexity of a live Andrew Bird show is astounding. The multitude of instruments and the constant looping to get the layering of sounds is such an elaborate process,” Osmond said.

Waiting until the end of the concert paid off because these UVU students had the opportunity to meet the man himself.

“He was extremely introverted and authentic. He takes his music very seriously and came off as very unassuming,” Buxton said.

If you want to expand your musical tastes, add Andrew Bird’s Noble Beast to your collection. If given the opportunity to see Bird live in concert, his inherent abilities will blow your mind and you will develop a greater appreciation for who he is and what he does.

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