Touring in support of his 12th studio album, Are You Serious, the Lake Forest, IL native is spreading his wings onstage. Typically known for his immersive solo performances, this tour sees him aloft the support from guitarist Steve Elliot and two musicians who also appear on the album: bassist Alan Hampton and drummer Ted Poor.
Graduating from Northwestern University in 1996 with a degree in violin performance, Bird has a long history of formal appreciation for the solo and the ensemble both in his studies and in his career as a multi-faceted musician. The new album follows 2014’s studio release Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of… and 2015’s Echolocations: Canyon, the first in a series of five instrumental, experimental, solo on-location recordings. Canyon was recorded inside the Coyote Gulch canyons of Utah.
“This definitely feels like a band thing,” says Bird of the new album. “It’s very rhythm-section driven. There’s something very powerful about this group.”
The support of a full band is the only way Bird would be able to properly convey the message from Are You Serious effectively. In these new songs, Bird is not delivering riddles or tongue twisters as much as he is baring his own inner-most fears.
“Here I am with my most unguarded, direct, relatable album to date,” he said. “There’s less wordplay and more intention to some brutal times that I went through. I suppose the title could be poking fun at my own foray into the confessional realm.”
The Masonic show comes at the tail end of a successful world tour with only five dates up the left coast and over the Rockies to Denver before a few select festival appearances this summer. Tickets are still available here, and for every ticket sold on the North American tour dates, $1 will be dedicated to organizations working to end gun violence and build safer communities.
Andrew Bird, John Grant
May 16, 2016