Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds flock to Belly Up Aspen
If You Go …
What: Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Thursday, Sept. 8, 9:30 p.m.
How much: $15
Tickets: Belly Up box office; www.bellyupaspen.com
The seven-piece Brooklyn, New York-based soul rock band Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds is quickly becoming one of the must-see bands of the new soul movement with its gritty and soul-inflected funk rock.
The band boasts a horn section alongside Arleigh Kincheloe’s soulful vocals, with doses of bluesy harmonica provided by her brother, Jackson, and some funky bass and organ to create a joyous wall of sound.
The band brings its current tour and its reputation for powerhouse live shows to Belly Up tonight.
Arleigh Kincheloe has a booming voice that’s drawn comparisons to Amy Winehouse and has a dynamic stage presence that’s worthy of the old-school soul queens of decades past. She’s been working on it as long as she can remember. Kincheloe was performing in coffee shops and clubs with her parents in her native upstate New York by age 9.
“Being comfortable on-stage comes directly from all that experience as a very, very young person,” she said from a recent tour stop in Rhode Island.
So by the time she was 20 and forming Sister Sparrow with her bandmates, Kincehloe was uniquely prepared to helm a rocking soul band on stage, crisscrossing the country to play clubs for 150 or so nights a year.
“I had all the reasons in the world to be terrified, but I wasn’t,” she said. “I have my parents to thank for that, because they gave me the confidence to do it. … I don’t remember ever being afraid. I think that really helped me so much when it came down to doing it myself because I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve done this a million times.’”
The band has been touring relentlessly since its inception, with frequent stops across Colorado, and has released new music periodically since its 2010 self-titled debut. Sister Sparrow’s most recent studio album was last year’s acclaimed “The Weather Below,” which was followed this spring by the live album “Fowl Play,” which was recorded at a sold-out New Year’s Eve show in Connecticut.
Kincheloe writes the band’s songs and then brings them to the guys (the six Dirty Birds are all guys). From there, the creative process is pretty democratic.
“We like to try everybody’s ideas out,” she said. “It’s very much a collective when it comes to the arrangements, but the songwriting is up to me.”
In the eight years since Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds formed, a new soul movement has taken hold in pop music, with breakout young guns like Lake Street Dive, Leon Bridges and Nathaniel Rateliff leading the pack. Kincheloe is proud to be a part of it.
“Back then it wasn’t really a thing,” she said with a laugh. “So it’s interesting and it’s cool, like, ‘Oh, OK, people like this!’ And it’s interesting to see other bands give their take on it. I love that. And I love soul music.”
The band has earned its share of buzz, playing an NPR Tiny Desk Concert, opening for the likes of Dr. John and Sharon Jones, and making its network debut on the “Today Show” earlier this year. It’s planning to head back into the studio during a break from the road this winter to make a new album, but the kinetic live show remains the band’s calling card.
“The live show is pretty high-energy and definitely a dance party,” Kincheloe said. “We want people to come out ready to have a good time and party with us.”
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