Arleigh Kincheloe was born and raised in the Catskill Mountains of New York, where she sang in her parents' band by the age of nine. Already a seasoned stage performer by 18, she began writing songs. She already had her harmonica-shredding brother Jackson by her side, but she imagined a large, powerful band playing her music. Their cousin Bram, a California-bred drummer, helped them fulfill that dream in 2008. Now based out of Brooklyn, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds is an eight-piece funk/soul band led by singer Arleigh Kincheloe, with Jackson Kincheloe on harmonica, Bram Kincheloe on drums, Josh Myers on bass, Sasha Brown on guitar, Ryan Snow on trombone, Phil Rodriguez on trumpet, and Brian Graham on baritone saxophone. The band released its second album, Pound of Dirt, in 2012, and a third EP, Fight, last month.
Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds has worked its way up from playing small clubs like the Rockwood Music Hall. Headlining Irving Plaza tonight, the night was a celebration for the band’s long-standing Brooklyn and Catskills-based fans. Kincheloe is a small woman with a big voice, and she belted out soulful songs like an enraptured gospel singer. She was equally comfortable and equally able with rollicking rock songs and sultry torch songs. A small but powerful brass section set fire to the danceable grooves with hard driving New Orleans funk and Memphis rhythm and blues. All told, the band served a sassy blend of classic American blues, soul, funk, rock and jazz, and it was a red hot brew.