Grass-roots folk 

Andrew Bird, Bobby Bare Jr.
The Music Mill
Sunday, Jan. 14, 8:30 p.m., $18 day of show

Since first appearing in the early ’90s as a member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Andrew Bird has been an artist constantly stuck between trends. Never completely bowling over the public, he has quietly built a devoted following since he began his solo performing career over a decade ago.

Based out of Chicago where he teaches at the Old Town School of Folk Music, Bird is best known as a subversive artist with his violin. Though his music seems to be of a pretty straightforward, singer-songwriter stock, it is often taken to more ambitious heights through Bird’s classically trained violin skills. While performing solo, he uses delay and effects pedals, often playing his violin like he’s finger-picking a guitar to build colossal walls of sound that can be quite elegiac and awe-inspiring. His head-spinning crooning is akin to Tim Buckley, though a bit more unassuming and less sexually charged.

What has kept Bird as an underground figure over the years is his intertwining of genres and sounds. In turn, this has allowed him to build a true grass-roots audience willing to be at least as adventurous as the object of their affection. His instrumental prowess leads him to experiment not just in rock-based folk, but in alternative country, blues, classical, post-rock and filmic soundscapes, in addition to a wide variety of regional and world folk music. The cast of Bird’s gaze has kept fans guessing, but his music is not spotty or difficult because of it.

Also performing with Andrew Bird will be Bobby Bare Jr., son of the legendary Bobby Bare. Junior Bare has done justice to the legacy of his father, carving out a sound and a career of his own by blending country and post-punk. His most recent album, The Longest Meow, gathered members of … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, My Morning Jacket, Clem Snide and Lambchop into an all-star live unit.

Editor’s note: Read more about Bobby Bare Jr. online at

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