Tag Archives: Steel Pan

Multi-Talented Musician Andrew Bird’s New Album: ‘Break it Yourself’

Many people can call themselves Multi-instrumentalists, some of the notable multi-instrumentalists are Prince, Stevie Wonder, and the great Madman Frank Zappa. But none are more unique in this generation than, Andrew Bird. Bird’s technique on violin and guitar are truly his own, and add a certain flare mostly seen in bluegrass and country music. Did we also mention Bird is an excellent whistler, yes that kind of whistler. Bird who got his start in Chicago, found himself a career that has lasted sixteen plus years. His career has included work with his band Bowl of Fire, a vast Catalogue of solo work, and numerous appearances as a session musician. Last week Bird released his seventh studio album entitled ‘Break it Yourself’ (Mom+Pop). ‘Break it Yourself’ is a tremendous effort featuring fourteen truly unique tracks.

The album starts with the track ‘Desperation Breeds…’ which has a very odd intro, that consists of atmospheric noises and a violin that is being plucked. Around the two minute mark of the track, we see a really interesting musical break, which includes a syncopated beat and tremendous guitar, violin, bass, and drum work. The bass in the song is truly driving and moves throughout. One of my favorite parts of the track is the violin solo which features a great deal of trills, which add an aspect of suspense. This aspect of suspense is only increased when what sounds like a Theremin is added into the mix.  The next track to take note of is entitled ‘Danse Caribe’ which literally translates to: ‘Caribbean Dance’. The song itself follows a traditional folk sound till about the 2:06 mark when Bird’s violin imitates the sound of the traditional Caribbean steel Pan or Drum. We also get the first taste of Bird’s whistling talent in this song. The next track to take note of is the seventh track ‘Near Death Experience Experience’. The track starts out with the plucked violin, which sounds doubled by either an electric violin or guitar. The rest of the instruments eventually kick in and Bird’s vocals take an interesting turn around the 2:15 mark, when they are harmonized with a very sweet sounding female voice.  The album is finished off by the three minute piece ‘Belles’. The song is very atmospheric and draws the listener in with a soft ambient background, while bells are played over top.

Overall I love this album because of its uniqueness. It truly is a must listen! Eventually, I think you’ll see more of Bird, but for now he’s one of music’s best kept secrets.

-B. Harlow

Check Out the Track ‘ Near Death Experience Experience’ Below:

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