Friday Roundup: (The Genius of) Andrew Bird

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On Wednesday, I finally got a chance to see that most literary of musicians, Mr. Andrew Bird. What a show! Sitting in the audience at the ritzy Schnitz with my husband, listening to Bird sing like a bird, with and through and all around his violin, backed by a rhythm section engaged in musical conversations ranging from bluegrass to classical to Malian blues, I was struck by just how much I love this man’s music.

He’s got the wordplay of Nabokov, the heart of Paul Simon, the musical lexicon of Jerry Garcia. Bands like Vampire Weekend might be clever and cosmopolitan, but none of them can bring tears to my eyes the way Andrew Bird did. He’s got that art school cool, for sure, but his is also the music of someone with a tremendous capacity for emotion, and judging from his latest album, the man has recently been through some real shit. I do hope all is well in Bird-land, personally speaking, because his music has just gotten more and more beautiful over the years.

I was reminded, listening to these new songs, what I felt as a teenager, listening to an orchestra for the first time at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where this country kid got to spend her senior year–that to be able to move people this way, to be in conversation with the deepest of the world’s artistic traditions, while also maybe inventing your own, whole new thing, was worth whatever it would take to accomplish.

Which, of course, is everything you have.

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