Birds of Chicago, "This year's biggest roots surprise" - L.A. Times, is a collective built around husband and wife duo JT Nero (Chicago, IL) and Allison Russell (Montreal, QC). Since forming in 2012, they've toured internationally 10+ months of the year.
Their brand of rock and roll poetry can be a little hard to categorize, for people that insist on categorizing... their voices are undoubtedly the centerpiece - Nero's fractured country soul croon is wrapped in Russell's silver and gold tones for a harmony blend that is like nothing else in music today. Fired by the band it's a full tilt revival - streamlined poems, deep grooves, sharp hooks and joyful singing straight from the gut.
Birds of Chicago's self-titled debut album, released at the beginning of 2013, was a critics' darling – with glowing praise rolling in from both sides of the Atlantic for Nero and Russell's evocative poetry and simmering vocals. The decision to put their respective bands (JT's "JT & The Clouds" & Allison's "Po' Girl") on hiatus and tour together was a pivotal move, applauded by their fans, and growing numbers of new listeners.
After a year of hard touring, and much buzzed about appearances at summer festivals (Strawberry, High Sierra, Kerrville, Hillside, Delfest, Vancouver Island among others) the band decided to record a live album in front of their hometown fans. The result "Live from Space," released January 2014, captures this rising band in absolute top form. By turns raw, raucous, whispered and hushed, it revealed the bands full dynamic range. Americana UK says, "'Live From SPACE' leaves no genre unaccounted for, no touchstone unturned. A Cappella spiritual, soul, acoustic balladry, driving country rock - it's all there. And that's only the first four tracks."
Russell and Nero are most at home on the road, zigzagging across North America and Europe in their family band van, with their new baby daughter, Ida Maeve, in tow. Coming soon to some festival, theater, pub, VFW hall, roller rink or living room near you - dovetailing their voices in songs of hope, despair, love.... and electric seahorses. It's familiar and strange stuff - the everyday and the magical - light and shadow, shadow and light.
"Near perfect Americana"- No Depression
"Simply gorgeous. On the verge of breaking big time"
- Chicago tribune
"This year's biggest roots surprise." L.A. Times
"10/10. 'Live From SPACE' leaves no genre unaccounted for, no touchstone unturned. If you want acappella spiritual – it's here ('Barley'), you want 'soul'- it's here ('All The City Girls'), you want acoustic balladry – it's here ('I Have Heard Words'), you want driving country rock – it's here ('Sugar Dumplin''). And that's only the first four tracks. (Americana UK, April 2014)
"[Birds of Chicago] have discovered a power in their collective that creates some truly spine tingling moments. Mix a little gospel, a little soul, plenty of country attitude and you get the semblance of the forces at play here. Heard live, this couple display a spirit in performance that is really special and conjures up the celebratory feel of a revival meeting." (Lonesome Highway – May, 2014)
"I Have Heard Words – Top Ten Songs Of The Week" (The Alternate Root – May 29, 2014)
"The band brings alive the big fat Birds of Chicago sound, topped off by two of the most distinctive voices on the Americana scene. 5 Stars" (Northern Sky, May 2014)
"Impeccable harmonies, warm voices and beautiful accompaniment." (R2-Rock 'N Reel Magazine, May 2014)
"Birds of Chicago are a sound buffet, and the band members are master chefs serving cabaret twang, dark folk blues, rock heavy alt country, and Mediterranean beach bar band. They are a gypsy band, knowing that their sound should be felt and seen as much as heard." (The Alternate Root, May 2014)
"[Live From SPACE] is a contender for live record of the year." (House of Mercy Radio, May 2014)
"I can't recommend their album highly enough, but if you get the opportunity to see Birds of Chicago play live; make the effort to see them. You won't regret it. (No Depression – Newcastle concert review – April 4, 2013)
Twenty Bands Pushing The Envelope – The Alternate Root; March, 2013.
"These two will become an 'It' act in Americana circles for years to come." (Portland Tribune; Jan. 10, 2013)