Nashville’s independent radio institution, Lightning 100, hosts a weekly live musical broadcast called Nashville Sunday Night from local venue 3rd & Lindsley, also an institution around these parts, and I was lucky enough to attend last week when Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, one my of favorite bands, was featured.
I can’t say this enough, and y’all probably get tired of reading it–you should definitely get to a show early enough to hear the opening acts, because you never know what treasures await you! New Jersey-based folk-rocker Anthony D’Amato provided opening support that night, on tour supporting his latest album, Shipwreck From The Shore. I know when some of you hear the words “folk music,” you roll your eyes; I’m here to tell you friends, D’Amato’s rowdy brand of modern folk is anything but whiny. I’m definitely keeping him on my radar.
Six of the seven members of The Dirty Birds took the stage and began to play; after a rousing musical introduction, Arleigh Kincheloe, a.k.a. Sister Sparrow herself, sashayed into the spotlight, and began singing “Don’t Be Jealous,” to kick off the night’s fun. I can’t even begin to describe for you the amount of talent that this collective possesses, and every member gets their time to shine individually. From Jackson Kincheloe’s smoking harmonica-playing (he even has a PLATFORM for all of his harmonicas, y’all), Sasha Brown’s explosive guitar virtuosity, Phil Rodriguez and Brian Graham dominating the horn section, to Josh Myers and Dan Boyden fiercely holding down the rhythmic fort on bass and drums. Then there’s Sister Sparrow, the little lady with the biggest lungs on earth, whose powerful voice gives my goosebumps goosebumps. She owned every inch of the stage that night.
Sister Sparrow invited us to clap a rhythm for the band’s performance of “Sugar,” and of course we obliged, and rocked it, because it’s Nashville, y’all, and we’re all musicians here; the set included all of my favorites from their latest album, The Weather Below, older favorites “Crawdaddies” and “Road Trip,” and even covers of “Dr. Feelgood,” Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” and funky soul standard “Tell Me Something Good.”
The radio broadcast had to end, but we weren’t ready for the party to stop, so the group came back out and played a few more songs for us. People were dancing in between the tables and in the aisles. This band’s brand of dirty, swampy, bluesy soul touches something way down deep inside me, and any adjectives I could find or invent can’t begin to do justice to how fantastic Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds are. You really need to make your day better and check out their music; they tour like crazy, so go see them when they come to your neighborhood!
(Pictures provided by the incomparable Ryan Kanaly; check out his Instagram portfolio at @ryansmallhands)