Monday, March 29, 2010

The Ragbirds

This evening, my buddy Twan dragged me to The Mountain Sun to see his friend's band from Ann Arbor. Sunday is my Friday, so i finished out my work week, even staying a couple extra hours, to jam some trashy '90s house music and frenetically clean.
We made it to the bar a little prior to the second set. The bar mingling scene is not really my cup of jasmine tea, so i took a minute to wander down to the gas station and get a cup of (wonderful) sleazy, Supercharged Circle K coffee, to help perk me up, and get me through the night.
There was an impressively dense throng of people, for a Sunday night at the bar, and the music commenced not long after i arrived. Comprised of the haloed rock trinity of guitarbassdrums, but nicely ornamented by the husband and wife duo of mesmerizing front-woman Erin Zindle on electric fiddle, mandolin, and accordion; and Tim Dzierkan, on percussion. The Ragbirds took us on a tour of various equatorial cultures, most strongly reminding me of Graceland-era Paul Simon, or King Sunny Ade with his sunny African stomp, but also mixing in various South American rhythms, and also throwing in some minor-key Klezmer fiddle work, to prevent diabetic shock, and also to mellow out and let you catch a breath. Make no mistake, this band can ROCK an audience, building it up and breaking it down, from a sweaty maelstrom to a sultry bump 'n grind. All the while, things are rooted in the gentle vocals of Erin Zindle, who coasts and soars over all the clamor going on below, like a breeze through the trees. Sweet, moving, emotional, and very real; i felt like i knew these 5 people after the show.
The Ragbirds have an easy manner, tight yet relaxed and loose. Two of the members are married, and the guitarist, T.J., is Erin's brother. They had some on-stage banter like 'Tell 'em yr story, T.J.,' to announce a solo. This is their 6th or 7th full tour, and they were on the 12th night of a 47 day run. This band has all the makings to truly succeed. If yr in the south, try and catch 'em on some of the dates. I'm posting a link to their tour itinerary, as well as a place where you may purchase their album for a pittance.

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