Andrew Bird Goes Top Shelf All The Way For Are You Serious
The latest album by Andrew Bird represents, as the artist phrased it in an interview conducted last month at Carnegie Hall, an attempt to go top shelf all the way. That is, he didn’t start recording until he had explored myriad permutations of each song. He turned them upside down and inside out and he got the absolute best musicians he could find to join him for the sessions. Those musicians included Blake Mills on guitar and other assorted instruments as well as Ted Poor on drums, percussion, and vibes. Alan Hampton played bass on most of the tracks and guitar on a pair of them while Patrick Warren helped out on keyboards. Fiona Apple also guested on a song. The resulting album, Bird’s thirteenth including the three with Bowl of Fire, is Are You Serious.
The Chicago native explained the album is fairly autobiographical covering the last five or six years of his life and accidentally chronological. Those years cover his move from the West Village to LA plus his marriage and birth of his son as well as his first few years as a father. He characterized it as more plain spoken where you should have a pretty good idea of what he’s driving at as opposed to past work where that wouldn’t be the case without the footnotes. Are You Serious is also marked by it being the first time Bird shared producing responsibilities as both Tony Berg and David Boucher earned co-producing credits.
Last month at Carnegie Hall, Bird played for three hours and dished out almost thirty songs in a show that featured appearances from friends ranging from Gabriel Kahane, Chris Thile, Shilpa Ray and Bob Dorough who is responsible for most of the classic ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ songs. The Madison Square Garden gigs later this week will of course be much smaller in scope and shorter in duration as he is sharing the bill with The Lumineers. He said that he’d be embracing the big gestures and offering a super high energy rock n’ roll show.