Birds of Chicago Wing Their Way into Caffe Lena & MASS MoCA This Weekend [Berkshire on Stage]

January 21st, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara
Allison Russell and JT Nero. Nero is the group’s chief songwriter, with Russell taking most of the vocal turns. Photo by Gabriel-Judet-Weinshel.

Allison Russell and JT Nero. Nero is the group’s chief songwriter, with Russell taking most of the vocal turns. Photo by Gabriel-Judet-Weinshel.

Birds of Chicago have an elemental, spiritual rock’n’roll sound that has been described as secular gospel. Their appearance at MASS MoCA’s FreshGrass Festival last September brought their sounds – and delights – to a whole new audience of music lovers. Now Birds of Chicago will make a pair of Greater Nippertown tour stops this weekend at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs on Friday (January 22) and at MASS MoCA’s Club B-10 in North Adams on Saturday (January 23). Both shows will feature the husband-an-wife duo of JT Nero and Allison Russell up-close and personal in intimate settings, as they offer their sprawling, soul-inflected, groove-based Americana sound.

In music, there is always history. In this case, it began as Russell’s country/funk band Po’ Girl and Nero’s rock group JT & the Clouds collaborated and toured North America and abroad together. Eventually, the duo united to form Birds of Chicago after recognizing an undeniable musical harmony, anchored by Russell’s soaring voice and Nero’s country inflection. Their musical chemistry soon provided a bounty of material which was enough to create Birds’ self-titled debut album, released in November 2012. With performances at The Egg, the Empire State Plaza and FreshGrass, Birds of Chicago quickly emerged as area fan-favorites.

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With uber-producer Joe Henry at the helm, Birds of Chicago’s newest album, Real Midnight, will be released on Friday, February 19.

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