Posts Tagged ‘Yellow Bird Project’

YBP Book Launch

Well it’s been quite a hectic week for me, but now that I finally have some time to sit down and relax I’d like to take this time to talk about what an amazing weekend I had last weekend. Yes, as depicted above it was the Montreal date of the Yellow Bird Project Indie Rock Coloring Book launch tour.

In case you haven’t heard about it yet, YBP joined forces with artist Andy J. Miller in creating the Indie Rock Coloring Book, in which each page is devoted to a different indie band or musician and you have to colour it in. Of course all the proceeds of the book sales go to all the charities that the bands support. But instead of telling you about it why not take a look at some samples.

Here is the page devoted to Devendra Banhart:

Devendra Book Page

Here’s the page devoted to Andrew Bird:

Andrew Bird Book Page

You get the picture…

So the tour started in San Fransisco where the project’s two founders Matt and Casey set up shop at the Outside Lands Festival selling YBP T-shirts and coloring books.

Here’s a picture of YBP’s booth:


Afterward they had a party in San Fran where they drank like adults and coloured like children:


The next stop on the tour was in New York City where the YBP crew hosted a book launch party at Housing Works where they had Ra Ra Riot DJing and a solo performance by Elvis Perkins.

Here’s the guys from Ra Ra Riot Spinning tunes:

Ra Ra Riot DJing

And here’s Elvis Perkins playing and donning a lovely YBP tee!

Elvis Perkins

And finally, the gang came back to where it all started…Montreal. Fortunately I was able to attend this one and let me tell you it was amazing. As I was pulling up to the Drawn & Quarterly Book Store where the launch was taking place, Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak from the Dears crossed in front of my car. And they were walking with their adorable daughter Neptune, who is responsible for the design on their YBP tee.

There were books, juice, cookies and coloring at this kid-friendly event but the highlight was an amazing solo performance by Murray from the Dears.

Here’s Murray, Natalia and Neptune arriving at the book store (that’s me and White Blank Page standing at the door):

Murray and Natalia

Here’s some of the kiddies colouring:

Coloring Kids

And here’s Murray doing what he does best:

Murray Lightburn

Hey look who showed up for the festivities…Sam Roberts and his daughter!

Sam Roberts and daughter

Here’s Sam, his daughter, Matt and Casey from YBP and Murray and Natalia:

Sam Roberts

Afterward the guys asked me to put on the brand new shirt designed by Little Boots so that they could take some pictures for their site.

Here’s one of them (that’s me trying my best (and failing) to look like a model):

Little Boots

And then to cap it all off they had an after party where everyone could chat, drink and of course colour.


After Party

So basically it was a really fun weekend! Oh and if you were interested in purchasing the latest Little Boots YBP tee you can find it here.

Well that’s all for now. Are you gearing up for fall and all the wonderful fall music? I am. Can’t wait. I already have made up my fall playlist on my ipod. It’s called “The Minor Fall” and on it you will find stuff from Band of Horses, Midlake, Department of Eagles, Grizzly Bear, Sea Wolf, Nurses and of course Nick Drake. There’s probably more, but yeah…excited for fall.

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dearsIf I had an ‘Adorable’ category this would be in it. So The Dears decided to design a T-shirt for my favourite local charity, The Yellow Bird Project. But listen to this! Instead of designing the shirt themselves they enlisted the help of a very talented artist…their 3 year old daughter Neptune. Amazing! Look at that shirt. I must have one. Completely adorable.

Buy Here

Here’s a closer look at the design:


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Hey guys, check out the interview I did with Noah & the Whale for Baeble Music:

With the onslaught of great bands coming out of the UK in the past few years, it safe to say that Noah & the Whale has made their mark as one of the best. On their debut album, Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down we got a first taste of their emotion driven rock, fronted by the deep vocals of lead singer Charlie Fink and backed by a great band of young musicians, including Tom Hobden, Urby Whale and Doug Fink. We recently had a chance to hop on the phone with the band’s drummer, Doug, to discuss the band’s future prospects, including an interesting upcoming tour along with a sophomore album nearing completion. We also talked a little bit about the amazingly talented Laura Marling and the band’s benevolent charity work. Take a look. -Greg Lozoff

Baeble: Firstly, your band name is quite unique. I’ve heard that it has something to do with the film The Squid and the Whale. could you tell me a little bit about your band name came to be?

Doug Fink: Yeah, It does indeed. Originally, it was the Squid and the Whale by Noah Baumbach. Take the full name of the director and the tail end of the film and then you have it. It’s also a reference to the fact that cinema is a source of influence for us.

Baeble: Your upcoming tour is called Club Silencio. I’ve heard that it’s going to be a different sort of tour. Could you tell me the concept behind it?

Doug: Yeah, well I guess it’s not totally original. I think people have been re-imagining live gigs for so long now, but the idea is to basically combine cinema with the music. So you get the kind of theme of Mullholland Drive’s Club Silencio, which pretentiously [laughs] is somewhere to deal with reality and illusion and whether something is actually happening or whether you’re basically imagining it. So the idea is that the whole evening will run as a complete program, sort of in an old fashioned way. There will literally be a program. There will also be a compare; a virtual compare, that will be projected on an enormous screen at the back of the stage. And the idea is basically that we show some short films that we’ve selected. There will be footage that we’ve made ourselves and then there’s the support act, and there will be some footage while he plays, and then there will be some more material and then we come on, and then again there’s some more material there. Yeah I guess it’s not really totally ground breaking but we put some thought into it and we’re quite excited to see how it turns out.

Baeble: Well it sounds really interesting. Are you going to be playing mostly songs off of your first album Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down, or will you be playing new songs specifically for the tour?

Doug: It’s definitely going to be a good balance of things. I mean, I don’t really know where this is leading towards. I mean we played in Brooklyn last week and we kind of made the decision to play more or less all new material. We were in New York to mix the second record. So yeah, I think the set is quite exciting. Well obviously it’s developing so it’s hard to know what works live without actually playing it live. And added to that is the need to combine it with the visuals. We think we’ve got the set well worked out so it’s going to be a nice balance between the two I think.

Baeble: I hear you are playing Italy this summer

Doug: [cutting in] The rumors are true.

Baeble: [laughs] Is this going to be your first time playing there?

Doug: Yeah, first time in Italy. We basically got offered to do this string of four dates. And as far as we can gather, if you do those four dates you’ve done the length of Italy [laughs]. So that was the plan. I mean we like Europe a lot. Italy being one of our favorite places so it’s a great excuse to go have a few days there, but yeah it should be good fun.

Baeble: Are you at all nervous or are you more excited to find out how the Italian audiences will react to your music?

Doug: Oh it’s exciting! I think as long as you entice people to express an opinion, either way it’s exciting. I think the bottom line is you have to feel like your doing a good show. And usually between the four of us we can agree that the set is going to work and then afterwards we’re happy with our performances and then you know, it’s all good really. It’s just exciting to play to new people. It’s one of the great thrills actuallyof live music.

Baeble: You guys seem to be a big fan of the cover. When I saw you play in New York City not too long ago you did a cover of the Smiths’ Girlfriend in a Coma, and I just saw the other day that you have a cover of Daniel Johnston’s Devil Town on your Myspace page. Are there any covers that the band is working on for the upcoming tour?

Doug: That’s a good question. Actually no [laughs]. Not at this point. No cover material actually due for the tour. Like I said we’re being slightly more prescriptive with our set than we would normally be. By the nature of the multimedia aspects you have to know what you’re going to do, for the ease of the whole engineering of it. So no, not for this tour. But it’s always great to do cover versions, like just explore songs and kind ofwell you know it’s nice to play the music that’s influenced you.

Baeble: So you told me you’re working on a new album, could you tell me about it? Is it going to be along the same lines as Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down or will this album go in different direction?

Doug: For three weeks in January we recorded it. We mixed it last week in New York with a fine gentleman called Henry Dobbins, who’s the producer and engineer on it. And yeah we’re really excited about it. I mean, it’s definitely still us, and it hasn’t really changed enormously, but it’s definitely more electric than the first record. Just really I guess a tip of the hat to some of the music that we’ve been listening to since we’ve recorded the first record. And maybe it’s slightly more experimental certainly with sounds anyway, and it’s slightly less precious. Like before we went to the studio we had time to really think about the sounds we wanted. And, you know, Charlie’s lyrics are recognizably Charlie’s lyrics. We’d never call it a concept album. It just doesn’t feel like that at all but the way the story runs kind of, well it is a narrative I suppose, or a thread that connects all the songs and I think that’s basically about the disillusion of a relationship. And then the other big plan for the record is Charlie’s making a film for it. So there’ll be a…well I guess you could call it a feature length music video that will run for the whole length of the album, so the album is effectively the soundtrack for the movie. So that’s exciting too, and that’s going to be filmed in April.

Baeble: Did you choose a title for that yet?

Doug: At the moment it’s probably going to be called First Days of Spring. Even though it’s coming out in, well summer here and probably September in the US. So it might be a bit incongruous, but yeah First Days of Spring it looks like.

Baeble: We here at Baeble are big fans of Laura Marling. Will she be again providing backup vocals on the new record?

Doug: No. I think Charlie made the decision basically to have no female vocals on it really, no backing vocals. It’s kind of just where the sound is. I mean I wouldn’t necessarily rule out future collaborations, but they’re both young songwriters so you know, Charlie produced her first record, and Laura sings on every track on our first record so I think it makes sense then to kind of move apart, in terms of recording. But she is actually in the process of sort of demoing her new stuff and it sounds pretty cool.

Baeble: Is it true that Charlie is also designing a T-shirt for the Yellow Bird Project?

Doug: [laughs] Yeah, I mean we all are. It’s a bit of a group effort. Yeah it’s going to happen. We keep coming up with an idea and then someone says no I don’t like that idea, so we haven’t settled on something final yet. But it’s a really great idea.

Baeble: How important is it for you guys to be involved in charity organizations like Yellow Bird?

Doug: I think it’s really important. We would give charity as individuals regardless of being in a band, but I think whatever walk of life you come from there is social responsibility. I think if you can exercise that purely through your bank account that’s fine, but if you can use yourwhatever credibility (you may have) as well I think that counts. I mean, we definitely don’t do as much as we’d like to do. But I mean, over Christmas we were doing demos for our first record and then we got some extra time so over the course of about 24 hours we did another album. We were just having some fun, and we call it our punk album [laughs]. It’s really just us doing some covers and some of our originals and we just called it the A-Sides. And then with Young and Lost Club (Records) we put that out over Christmas and did a gig, and all the profits from that went to a charity called Age Concern in the UK, which is basically for the elderly and disadvantaged people. So yeah I think it is important to have social responsibility wherever you come from really.

Baeble: We’ll that’s nice to hear that you guys did that.

Doug: Yeah you should check out the A-Sides, it’s good fun. There’s some tracks on the Myspace page.

Baeble: I definitely will. As a big Noah & the Whale fan I’d like to hear anything you guys put out. Finally, do you have any plans to play at any of the big Summer Festivals this year?

Doug: We are indeed. In the US we’re doing Coachella, which is going to be really great. And then we’re doing our tour off the back of that, that’s in April, so it isn’t really Summer, but it will feel like Summer for us. And then I think we’re due to do Lollapalooza as well in the US, but I don’t know if that’s been all confirmed yet. And in the UK and Europe we’ll do the usual round of festivals which should be good fun, it’s always good fun.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Noah and the Whale on Myspace

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Written for The Yellow Bird Project:
December 26th, 2008 by themiddledistancerunner

Seasons Greetings My Merry Music Lovers,

The time is here, for my albums of the year. Sorry, Christmas makes me feel like rhyming. Anyways, I have finished my schooling and can once again indulge in the things I love (music, books other than textbooks etc). After much deliberation I have come up with a list of my top albums of the year. Like my list of my favourite songs of the year, the list is simply all my listens added up to see what I listened to the most throughout the year. I’m not saying these are the “best” albums, just my favourite. I think it’s pretty obvious what my album of the year is judging by my previous two lists (EPs and songs) and the picture at the top of this post which depicts a pretty fleet looking fox, but if you haven’t already figured it out, take a look:

20. Noah & The Whale – Peaceful The World Lays Me Down

To start us off is the debut album by a talented little group of music makers from England, Noah & The Whale. I love pretty much every song on the album, and Laura Marling’s beautiful voice sparkles here and there throughout the album, making it shine ever brighter. A promising start for these guys and I hope to hear a lot more from them in the future. I had the privilege of seeing them play live in New York City and wow what a show.

19. Tyler Ramsey – A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea

Next is an album that I listen to every time I have had the need to just take a step back and calm down a little while. It is by guitar extraordinaire Tyler Ramsey. Ramsey also serves as one of Band of Horses’ guitarist. A truly talented musician and a great debut album by him.

18. Laura Marling – Alas I Cannot Swim

If you don’t know who Laura Marling is by now you must be living under a rock. Her debut album is just pure beauty, and she is only 18 years old. I can’t wait to see what she will have for us next. In her spare time she has been making guest appearances on the albums of some pretty awesome bands. Mystery Jets, Noah & The Whale and Mumford & Sons have all collaborated with Marling and it seems as if everything she touches turns to gold.

17. Plants & Animals – Parc Avenue

This one is the debut album from my fellow Montrealers, Plants & Animals. I fell in love with this album over the summer while I was interning in New York City. I remember strolling down 3rd avenue on bright sunny days listening to Parc Avenue. Good times. Ok I’ll stop being cheesy now. Seriously, this album is pretty incredible and if you haven’t already, you should give it a listen.

Plants & Animals – Feedback In The Field

16. Department of Eagles – In Ear Park

Number 16 on my list is by a band called Department of Eagles. If you are a fan of Grizzly Bear, then Department of Eagles is right up your alley. You see, the bands share the same lead singer, Daniel Rossen, and because of this have a similar sound. There are obviously differences between the two bands but I was really impressed with this album. “No One Does It Like You” is among my absolute favourite songs of the year.

Department of Eagles – No One Does It Like You

15. Horse Feathers – House With No Home

Number 15 is just a beautiful album that I listened to to death this year by a band called Horse Feathers.

Horse Feathers – This is What

14. Vampire Weekend – Self Titled

Vampire Weekend was another one of my bands of the summer. It’s funny, when I first listened to this album I wasn’t that impressed. Maybe I just felt like it didn’t live up to the hype. Then one day I just got it and it quickly became one of my favourites of the year.

13. The Dears – Missiles

The Dears are back and better than ever on their newest LP, MISSILES. The band has been completely rebuilt from the ground up, while keeping the foundation of Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak and adding an array of talented musicians from all different places. What we are left with is a group of seriously talented musicians who have created a really great album. This may in fact be my favourite Dears record to date.

12. Ratatat – LP3

I waited for this album to come out for so long that when it did come out I was so excited that I listened to it non-stop for weeks. That being said, it is quite the album. I don’t know how it ranks among the other two Ratatat albums but it is definately a fresh new sound for them that makes this album stand apart from the other two.

11. Blitzen Trapper – Furr

This was an album that I was reluctant to listen to at first, because I wasn’t crazy about Blitzen Trapper’s first release. But after hearing a couple of songs on satellite radio I decided to give it a try. I was happy I did because this album is pretty amazing. I had the chance to see them play when I went to see Fleet Foxes opening for them awhile ago, but I left after Fleet Foxes’ performance. Looks like that was a bad decision on my part.

Blitzen Trapper – Furr

10. Dr. Dog – Fate

Number 10 on my list is Dr. Dog’s album Fate. This is just an amazing album from start to finish. The highlights on it for me would have to be “The Old Days” and “The Breeze”, but every song on this album is worth a listen. Just an all around solid album.

9. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

You won’t find too many top album lists without this album on it. Bon Iver exploded onto the scene this year. Songs like “Flume” and “Skinny Love” have been permanently on my mind as I often find myself singing or humming them to myself. You can see how much bigger they got within the year. The first time I saw them play was at a small venue in Montreal called The Cabaret. A few weeks ago I saw them play in New York City at the prestigious City Hall, one of two sold out back to back shows at the same venue. By the way, have you seen the awesome design they did for YBP?

8. The Dodos – Visiter

Even though The Dodos album cover looks like it was created by a child, the album itself is as far from childish as it gets. These songs are rife with emotion, lead by the incredible guitar playing of Meric Long and Logan Kroeber’s tribal drumming. And as good as they sound on the album, you have to see them live to fully appreciate them. I was lucky enough to do so and all I have to say is…”The Season”.

7. Born Ruffians – Red, Yellow & Blue

I’m not sure how popular this album was because I don’t know that many people who listen to Born Ruffians but I was in love with this album the second I heard it and I am still in love with it today. “Little Garcon” is probably my favourite, but the rest of the album is great as well.

Born Ruffians – Barnacle Goose

5. Man Man – Rabbit Habits

What could possibly be bad about a new Man Man album? It seems as if these guys just get better and better with time. Their first album was okay, their second was great and their newest album, Rabbit Habits is stellar. What I love about Man Man is that they always keep you guessing. For example, who expected that amazing xylaphone action in “The ballad of Butterbeans”? This is another example of a band that is great on the album and even more amazing live. If you have a chance to see these guys live you must do so.

Man Man – The Ballad of Butter Beans

4. Pinback – Autumn of the Seraphs

This was arguably my most anticipated albums of the year. Pinback has been one of my all-time favourite bands for a long time now and the idea of a new Pinback album just gets my hyped. I don’t know if this album will go down as one of my favourite Pinback albums, but it is definitely worth a whole bunch of listens.

Pinback – Bouquet

3. Pete & The Pirates – Little Death

Number 3 on my list is a wonderful little album by some awesome Brits that go by the name of Pete & The Pirates. I really became obsessed with the album for a good while this year. I’m not sure what makes these guys so likable. Their music is just exciting. They might be my favourite British band of the year. They also have two new songs on their myspace page called “Blood Gets Thin” and “Jenny” that are worth a listen, check it out.

2. The Hush Sound – Goodbye Blues

The Hush Sound at number 2. Who would have thought. Their first two albums reminded me too much of Panic at the Disco, but on their newest album, Goodbye Blues, lead singer Greta Salpeter takes the reins and is featured much more prominently then the band’s other male singer. They may be too poppy for some, but I love it and think they are well deserving of my number 2 slot.

The Hush Sound – Break The Sky

1. Fleet Foxes – Self Titled

Fleet Who? Ya right. This has been the year of the Foxes. Throughout the year we have been treated to one of the best EPs of the year, in the Sun Giant EP, as well as an amazing debut self-titled LP by Fleet Foxes. Songs like “Mykonos”, “White Winter Hymnal”, “Your Protector” and “Oliver James” have been on continuous repeat throughout the year and I was lucky enough to see them play live twice in Montreal. I’m so excited about this band and what will come from them in the future.

Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal

Fleet Foxes – He Doesn’t Know Why

So there you have it. Fleet Foxes sweep the series. They have produced my favourite EP, LP and song of the year. I’m so happy for these guys. Now I would like to pay tribute to a few more albums that either just missed the top 20 or were released too soon to be a part of this year’s list. Here are some albums that deserve honorable mention…

Yeasayer – All Hour Symbols

Girl Talk – Feed The Animals

Santogold – Santogold

The Tallest Man on Earth – Shallow Graves

Alaska in Winter – Holidays

The Welcome Wagon – Welcome to the Welcome Wagon

Tv On The Radio – Dear Science

Radiohead – In Rainbows

Now that you know pretty much everything that I listened to throughout the year it’s your turn! What are your top albums of the year? I’m sure there’s plenty I’ve forgotten.

Until next week…

The Middle Distance Runner

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Written for the Yellow Bird Project:
December 1st, 2008 by themiddledistancerunner…

Well folks, the year is winding down once again. I feel like just a few months ago we were ringing in 2008, but the truth is that another year has passed us by. This will be my first post in a series of posts celebrating “The Best of 2008”. To start off the series, I’d like to talk about my favourite EPs of the year. There have been quite a few EPs released this year to keep us going while we await new full lengths from our favourite artists. Artists such as Andrew Bird, Final Fantasy, The Decemberists, Antony & the Johnsons, Animal Collective and Coldplay have all released EPs this year. Some have been better than others, but they have mostly been solid. So here is my list of the Best EPs of 2008:

5. Animal Collective – Water Curses EP

Starting out the list is Animal Collective’s Water Curses EP. The first two songs on the 4 song EP are amazing and the last two are just so so, but what makes this EP so special is the title track of the EP, “Water Curses”. This song is among my favourite all-time Animal Collective songs. They could have just put out the EP with this being the only song on it and I would still consider it a great success. I may be building this song up too much. You’re probably going to listen to it and be like…”Ok it’s not that good”. So forget what I just said. This EP is terrible. “Water Curses”? Awful, Awful song….

Animal Collective – Water Curses

Animal Collective Myspace

4. Andrew Bird – Soldier On EP

Next we have the brilliant multi-instrumentalist/whistler extraordinaire, who is back with this excellent little EP to tide us over until his next full length album, which will be entitled Noble Beasts and is slated for a January 27th, 2009 release. I have this feeling that nothing Andrew Bird puts his hands on can turn out bad. I have loved pretty much everything I have ever heard from him and this EP is no exception. “The Water Jet Cilice” is pure beauty in song. Check it out.

Andrew Bird – The Water Jet Cilice

Andrew Bird Myspace

3. Stars – Sad Robots EP

I absolutely love this EP. Stars have always brought the drama and this EP is no different. It is comprised of 5 new songs and a new live version of the Stars classic, “Going Going Gone”. I was also lucky enough to be able to see Stars perform some of the songs from this EP live in New York City a few months ago. I am really eager to hear what the next Stars album will sound like. I really hope it goes in the same direction as this excellent EP.

Stars – Undertow

Stars’ Myspace

2. The Decemberists – Always the Bridesmaid (A Singles Series) EPs

This is a series of 3 EP’s of odds and ends that obviously wouldn’t fit on the new album that the Decemberists are working on entitled Hazards of Love, which will be released in March 2009. Colin Meloy has always been a fan of the EP, releasing a number of them before this one, including his Colin Meloy SIngs series, in which he covered songs of Morrissey, Shirley Collins and Sam Cooke on three EPs. This series of EPs is quite spectacular if you ask me. I really like every song on them. My favourites would have to be “A Record Year” off of Volume 3, and the cover of the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Sticking With You” off of Volume 2. Valerie Plame is also a pretty awesome song. You can find that one of the first volume.

The Decemberists – Record Year

The Decemberists Myspace

1. Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant EP

And the winner is….of course! This one’s a shoo-in. Just an amazing EP from start to finish. “Mykonos” is still arguably my favourite Fleet Foxes song period. It looks like Fleet Foxes are going to clean up this year in most of the “Best of 2008” lists. Check in soon to see if they top the list of best song of the year, or best album of the year.

Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant

Fleet Foxes Myspace

Honorable mention goes to the Another World EP by Antony & the Johnsons, the Plays to Please EP by Final Fantasy, and the No Way Down EP by Air France.

So Fleet Foxes take best EP of the year…what a surprise. These guys are just amazing. I really hope they keep it up on whatever they decide to release next. The next thing I’m working on is my list of the top songs of the year. After that I will reveal my list of the top 20 albums of the year. It’s actually quite fun to look back and see what you really listened to a lot of during the year. You should do it too.

What are your favourite EPs of the year?

Until next week…

The Middle Distance Runner

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This is one of the most exciting moments in my short blogging career. The Yellow Bird Project has provided me with the opportunity to interview one of my favourite new artists, who I was introduced to by my American friend, Jeremy. Birdie Busch has been getting a lot of play time by me ever since I was told about her and was immediately hooked on the catchy as hell “Mystical”, a song off of her second full length album, Penny Arcade. Birdie was nice enough to allow us to interview her, and we are so glad we did, because not only is she super talented, but she is quite witty too. Take a look.

Middle Distance Runner: I understand your real name is Emily. When and how did you come to be known as “Birdie” Busch?

Birdie Busch: Birdie was a nickname bestowed upon me by a friend after a beret with metal studs was bestowed upon my head. It had nothing to do with singing just silliness. So when they ask, “what came first the beret or the bird? I do say the beret.”

MDR: At what age did you start writing music?

BB: I started writing music at the age of 5 on my portable tape recorder, a tune in which I rhymed Manhattan with “blatten”, a fictitious word that served the purpose of rhyming with Manhattan, so I sung, “I will take Manhattan with my blatten.” I had a dormant period that ended in my twenties where life just started to feel right to me distilled into the shape and feeling of a song. I must have been looking for songs for a long time and didn’t know it but when they came, oh boy.

MDR: What kind of music did you listen to growing up and what are your major musical influences?

BB: In my parent’s station wagon it were these tapes, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, and I distinctly remember Neil Diamond’s Hot August Night. Patsy still has a gigantic place in my heart and memory. I like how she really takes her time with her delivery, kind of behind the beat. My sister, almost a generation older than me passed down her cassettes and mix tapes, fluorescent 80’s colors and all. I remember her Grateful Dead cassettes she would draw her own pictures for and also, Paul Simon’s Graceland. Another fond memory is when she decided to pop in George Michael’s single, “I Want Your Sex” into the player on a family road trip. Kinda awkward.

Major musical influences? I love Canadians! Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Rick Danko of the Band. I also love Bill Withers, John Prine, Nina Simone. I love Tahitian lullabies and Mexican Nortenos. Jeff Tweedy and Jerry Garcia. The Staple Singers. Toots Hibbert. Gillian Welch. Daniel Lanois. So many I could talk about though. Folks that I call my influences I do because I take from them the inspiration to be myself, for that is what is so appealing about all of them to me, that they were and are so free with giving their own thing to the people.

MDR: Do you play any other instruments besides guitar?

BB: I played violin in grade school from about 5-7. I remember that I really liked Minuet 3. I started playing some again cause I really find that different instruments open up different portals of melodies and violin for sure has some great ones.

MDR: What have you been listening to lately?

BB: Lately I’ve been really enjoying instrumental things, lots of John Fahey, Jim O’Rourke, and I just recently heard for the first time Juana Molina and love the way it’s making my brain bend. I am also hugely in love with early rock steady/ska/reggae. My friend and I want to do a whole record of those old songs, like “Adam & Eve”. It’s this great song, not sure if he wrote it, but Bob Marley sang it way way back.

MDR: Are you a fan of any of the bands that have been a part of the Yellow Bird Project?

BB: Oh yeah. You’ve got quite a crew. It’s funny, I lived behind this bar in Philly and would go there after work to just have a beer and ended up in the midst of a Devendra Banhart concert pretty early on in his touring and playing, without knowing anything about it and always took the line he sung, “from the womb to the tomb, I’ll always be a child” around with me in my head. Really enjoy Neko Case and the way her records sound.

MDR: If you could see any 3 artists or bands dead or alive playing the same show who would they be and why?

BB: I’ve been asking this question all around town since I read it, wondering what others say….Anything contemporary I just assume that I will be able to see if I want some time, which isn’t necessarily true but it allows me to widdle it down to music of folks that have passed from this here world that I might bring back for this show. I would have loved to have seen Bob Marley in his prime, with that big stage show and all the girls singing…also, Nina Simone. Nina Simone being backed by Bill Withers band, which someone told me happened at some point. And of course, John Lennon singing Instant Karma. When I told someone John Lennon, they said, “How about the f****** Beatles!?” And the list goes on and on. Can I add an opener or special guests? Like Charles Mingus, Led Zeppelin, and Clara Rockmore on the theremin?

MDR: What is your favourite movie?

BB: As a lot of my favourites, there’s a huge range, in which is included Ghostbusters, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Forrest Gump, Aliens, and Waiting for Guffman. When I have the chance, most times I’ll rent a movie to laugh before I cry, and if it does both, beautiful.

MDR: What is your favourite book?

BB: Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson. Just Above my Head by James Baldwin. Books of poetry by Langston Hughes. These are some that come to mind. I really like the era of American Literature from the turn of the Nineteenth century and onwards some, in which all of these favourites are included.

MDR: What is your favourite thing to do on a lazy Sunday?

BB: Park myself on my couch facing and in between two old wooden speaker cabinets and listening to records I’ve gotten along the way. Not washing dishes and listening, not reading and listening, or even folding laundry. I’m just listening. I also am a big fan of walk-abouts in my West Philly hood. Does walking cancel out lazy though? Not sure.

MDR: Do you have any new material in the works? Tour plans?

BB: Yes! We are finishing up a recording in the next couple months; it’s about lampshades, Eden’s suburbs, and Mexican dishwashers amongst other things. I promise they do all come together. Stay tuned……

I recently received an e-mail from an enthusiastic Frenchman who wants to book us in France so now I am working at turning that into a first time European tour come the New Year. The U.S. is tough lately with the gas crisis so we’ve been riding our bikes around Philly and concentrating on the recording. We need more trains. We need gigantic zip-lines or sling shots.

MDR: And finally, When are you coming to play in Montreal?

BB: As soon as you have a Yellow Bird Festival!


Well YBP, it seems a Yellow Bird Festival is in need. Get on that!

And as a special gift, Birdie has provided us with a video of her playing a new song from her upcoming album. The song is called “Penny Arcade” and I absolutely love it! Check it out.

Here is the song as an mp3 for you:

Birdie Busch – Penny Arcade

I would like to thank Birdie for taking the time to answer my questions. I can’t wait to hear your new album, I will keep my eyes wide open for it!

Until next week…

-The Middle Distance Runner

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