On the song “Cooley,” the group gets things going with a light-hearted and fun melody, building into a jam crescendo led by harmonica, excited guitars, and thrashing drums. The crashing jam sneaks up on you, but in a good way, rewarding with you with an adventurous and exhilarating close to the song. The lyrics hold up well with the playing, as Jay belts out: “Something’s unbelievable/Nobody explains/You can you see it when you see it and you can see it everyday. Whoa, you’re on your own. “ The quick ditty “Keep It Together,” shows more of the band’s soulful side, departing from routine song structure and getting more to the point of “Leave the light on….” The blues soulfully shine in “Like You Do,” with some added cowbell funk proving that the band has a good feel and appreciation for fundamental roots tunes. But it’s on songs like “Monroe” that the group really shows you what they’re made of, moving into newfound territory, pushing themselves along the way. The song features an interesting pairing of island guitar and country steel guitar. The laid-back nature of the song is further complimented by the addition of a female vocalist, Shelby McDaniel, turning the song into a sweet, soft and gracious duet. This touch of diversity adds a layer of complexity that is much appreciated. “Radio Man” brings us more of that chill out sound with well-arranged percussion. The band gets to really having some fun during “Saturday Monster,” an R&B slow jam where they add their own personal touch. The soulful jamming is well balanced with the lyrics: “Thanks for coming out here/how you holding up dear/I’m glad you came/let’s get carried away.” It's very poetic in this fun style of love and party song in one. The album closes with “Virgin Gorda,” a funky, super upbeat swing, which gets a well thought-out coupling in “Virgin Gorda Reprise,” featuring a far off old-school honky-tonk piano (Hutchinson) and retro sounds of radio in the background, making you feel like you’re in a distant place or perhaps paradise. The reprise adds hints of “Palm Sunday” by Jerry Garcia Band, making me very happy that they decided to record this song; it’s a very welcome addition.
Overall, it’s nearly impossible to not smile and move while listening to “Groove” by Little Bird. If you’re down in the dumps I recommend a high dosage of Little Bird to raise your spirits. With several upcoming shows in the area (including a sure-to-be rockin’ New Years Eve celebration with Pressing Strings at Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge downtown), it will be exciting to see Little Bird as they take flight.
We first heard these young guys at Danny Mays' "Rock of All Ages," just before the legendary Whiskey Annapolis closed. They explained the origin of their band name, Little Bird, and that when younger, both Jay (James) and James had been tagged, “Jay Bird.” Additionally, Chris’ middle name is James. This led the band mates to Bob Marley’s famous song, Three Little Birds. Logically, the name stuck.
At the time, Jay Hurtt also told me that he had been on his own, playing solo for quite a while. When he met the other guys, their bonds grew stronger and it was very gratifying. He said, “It was just like a good conversation.” The longer they played together, the more intuitive they each became. They blew me away then and still continue to impress - and on top of their incredible talent, they're just plain fun to listen to. No pretenses. If you get the chance to hear them, DO. You'll smile all night long. (jpb)
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