Traverse City Music: Porterhouse Productions brings award-winning singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and indie rock artist Andrew Bird to Traverse City at the City Opera House on Thursday, April 11. Combining folk, rock, pop, classical and blues influences, Andrew Bird is a genre-defying performer who's earned international renown for his virtuosic musicianship and hypnotizing live performances at such festivals as Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, SXSW, Newport Folk Festival and Austin City Limits.
Since 1997, the Chicago-based performer has released 11 albums, garnering a devoted following with his early band Band of Fire before venturing out with his first solo album, “Weather Systems,” in 2003. During touring for the album, Bird honed his solo act and developed his now-legendary looping, whistling and glockenspiel techniques, which allow him—alone on stage—to produce sounds equivalent to a small backing orchestra. Bird's next album in 2005, “The Mysterious Production of Eggs,” was released on Ani DiFranco's label Righteous Babe Records and went on to sell over 75,000 records.
In 2007, Bird rocketed into the national spotlight with album “Armchair Aopcrypha,” selling over 100,000 copies and earning the performer invitations to appear on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “Late Night with Conan O'Brien.” The album made numerous best-of-year lists, including those of Pitchfork, Esquire, NPR, Blender and Paste. Subsequent albums – including “Noble Beast” in 2009 and “Break It Yourself” and “Hands of Glory” in 2012—have cemented Bird's status as one of the most innovative artists of his generation.
A multi-genre creative force, Bird ventured into film composition with the scoring of the film “Norman” in 2010, has recorded with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, was a featured speaker at the acclaimed TED conference, appeared on the Noggin television network's children's program “Jack's Big Music Show,” and was the subject of the award-winning feature-length documentary “Andrew Bird: Fever Year,” which premiered at the prestigious New York Film Festival in 2011.
While an accomplished vocalist and violinist—Bird first picked up the violin at age four and graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in violin performance—the singer also plays electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin, glockenspiel and loop pedals, among other instruments. His skills as a “one-man orchestra” led one reviewer to declare: “Andrew Bird sounds better alone than most bands do together.” The LA Times, calling Bird “a breath of fresh air,” said of his live performances: “The thrill of an Andrew Bird show is watching him build gorgeous songs by himself from scratch...building impossibly intricate melodies, then winding them back down to simplicity again.”
Tickets for An Evening with Andrew Bird, a Porterhouse Productions event, are $34 and go on sale on Monday, February 18 at 10 a.m. at the City Opera House box office in downtown Traverse City, by phone at 231-941-8082 and online at cityoperahouse.org. For more information, visit porterhouseproductions.com.