tb-two* photo galleries
Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
By MAX ASAYESH-BROWN, tb-two* music critic, St. Petersburg High
Grade: 5/5 *****
My favorite Andrew Bird song is only to be found on the soundtrack from The Trials of Darryl Hunt, and despite my self-imposed status as enthusiastic fan, I have not taken extraordinary measures to familiarize myself with all his work.
And while I can only speculate upon the literary connotation (hand of glory being a dried severed hand of someone who has been hanged), I can tell you that the eight-track baby album is two things: First, it’s a companion to Bird’s sixth studio album Break It Yourself, released earlier this year. Second and more important, it’s a success.
Bird has always been to me what I imagine a good comic book is to a bibliophile: a fine, light treat. I didn’t go out of my way to drive to Tampa on a Tuesday night to see him, but Bird’s appeal to me is not deficient, just different. I can put a Bird album on shuffle when I’m not craving anything but smooth, smart music, underscored by a stormy quality only Bird and a handful of other songwriters can deliver. An added bonus: He’s sitting on an attractive deposit of originality.
Lots of my favorite artists could make an album of eight songs and I wouldn’t be as disappointed to hear track eight fade out as I am with the end of Beyond the Valley of the Three White Horses. (Although granted, with nine straight minutes of magically genuine violin, you get a chance to ease into the idea.)
Yes, if there is anything to charge this album besides Bird’s independence as an artist and milky vocals, it is the prominent use of violin. And it’s the real deal, because so is Bird. Beyond the Valley of the Three White Horses is as pure as it gets, unlike the typical indie musician’s patronage of Rent-A-Violin (or something).
Bird has something that other artists either wish they had or should wish they had — and it’s the absence of this something in those artists’ work that makes it easier for me to target the good and the bad and write 300 words before breakfast. With Bird, the most I can suggest you do is listen. Just do it.