I said in an earlier blog that one of the aspects of the band that we wanted to capture with Volume 3 was the psychedelic, acid-blues vibe that is a large part of our live show. And a large part of that side of our sound is Jeff Bird’s manic wailing and gnashing. Jeff joined us over twenty years ago when we gathered in a little known church named Trinity. We didn’t know Jeff, but we knew of his work with the folk outfit Tamarac and we knew that Jeff played fiddle and we wanted to add that instrument to our arrangements. There weren’t a whole lot of fiddle players wandering around the punk clubs of Toronto in the mid-80’s….(the clubs are lousy with them these days, as well as mando, accordion and pedal steel players). Jeff showed up with his fiddle, as well as his acoustic mandolin and harps. The rest of that story is, as they say, history. But Jeff stuck around and joined our touring outfit. He played a large part on Caution Horses which was the follow up to The Trinity Session, but on subsequent albums we started to experiment with other musicians and instruments and while Jeff’s contributions were important, they weren’t as plentiful. But as his importance in the studio waned, his importance on the road waxed. Over the years we have asked Jeff to pick up probably a dozen different instruments on stage and he has always done so with gusto. One of his most important “finds” on the road was an electric mandolin that he discovered in a little music store in Boulder, Colorado. He hemmed and hawed about buying it all day and then decided to go for it, unsure of how it would fit in to what we were doing and whether it would find a place in his own repertoire. At first the electric-mando rarely made an appearance on our stage, but over the years, as we have raised our freak flags higher with each passing tour, the electric-mando has become Jeff’s instrument of choice. Jeff made a big return to the studio with us on Open and the electric-mando is featured on a lot of those songs, but on Sing In My Meadow, Jeff’s madness is put on display in all its raging glory….lock up your children, this is scary stuff.
Here is the board mix for I Move On, with no vocals, so you can appreciate all of the subtle nuances of Jeff’s insanity…wail on, dude…
Check out previous Sing In My Meadow blogs:
Song Writing Demos