Live Review: Hawktail @ Songbyrd Music House — 2/7/20

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Hawktail (Photo by Jody March)

String band music is often equated, at least in contemporary America, with bluegrass, but this is far from the whole story. Bluegrass only emerged in the 1930s (at the earliest), while string music is much, much older. The term “old-time” is used to describe music with even deeper roots in the 19th century (and sometimes even further back in history). It is old-time music, with its connection to the more distant past and world folk music, that the instrumental quartet Hawktail plays.

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Live Review: Erin Rae @ Songbyrd Music House — 2/4/20

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Erin Rae performs at Songbyrd Music House on Feb. 4, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Some musicians are taken off guard playing downstairs for the first time at Songbyrd Music House, a narrow room with low ceilings and a small stage dubbed the “Byrd Cage,” kind of like the old tavern venue in your college town.

But on Feb. 4, Erin Rae took the stage as a confident, beaming guitarslinger with a bright smile and a charisma that magnetized the audience’s attention while she carefully double-checked the tuning on her instrument.

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Live Review: Bonny Light Horseman @ Songbyrd Music House — 2/4/20

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Bonny Light Horseman performs at Songbyrd Music House on Feb. 4, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock)

A sold-out crowd gave its full attention to the “supergroup” Bonny Light Horseman during their recent performance at the Songbyrd. An acoustic guitar intro led into their first song of the evening, “10,000 Miles.” Singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell, whose musical Hadestown cleaned house at this year’s Tony Awards, led off on vocals. Eric D. Johnson, frontman for the Fruit Bats, came in next, with multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman on the electric guitar.

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Live Review: YACHT @ Songbyrd Music House — 1/15/20 + Rough Trade NYC — 1/18/20

Yacht02 YACHT performs at Songbyrd Music House on Jan. 15, 2020. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Editor: We have updated this post with more photos of YACHT performing at Rough Trade NYC on Jan. 18, 2020!

Inspired in part by an application called the Verbasizer offered by David Bowie in the ’90s, synthpop trio YACHT wrote an album in collaboration with an AI program last year.

YACHT performed the appealing results in its entirety at Songbyrd Music House recently, offering the 10 new wave tracks of Chain Tripping live in reverse order of the record. And interestingly, the songs sounded like something that could have sprung directly from a Bowie collaboration with Brian Eno in the ’70s.

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Preview: YACHT @ Songbyrd Music House, 1/15/20

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Yacht (Credit: Neurography by Mario Klingemann, Training photos by Jaclyn Campanaro)

Disco punks YACHT recently released Chain Tripping — the band’s seventh LP and third for DFA — after recording it between Marfa, Texas, and the band’s home in Los Angeles. The 10 songs are unlike anything YACHT has ever made: pop experiments from a sideways dimension coaxed into their studio through a portal opened by machine intelligence.

Chain Tripping received a Grammy nomination for Best Immersive Audio Album in the 2020 Grammy Awards, and YACHT performs the album in full at Songbyrd Music House on Wednesday, Jan. 15.

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