Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds at the Bowery Ballroom

Arleigh Kincheloe a.k.a. Sister Sparrow
Arleigh Kincheloe was born and raised in the Catskill Mountains of New York, where she began singing in her parents' band at the age of nine and writing songs by her teen years. As her songwriting matured, she imagined a big sound behind her songs. She became Sister Sparrow, and with a seven-piece soul/rock band behind her, the ensemble became Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds in 2008. As the Brooklyn-based band developed a following, its successes included a five-month Saturday night residency at the Rockwood Music Hall in 2009, a self-titled debut album in 2010 and a tour in 2011. The band's most recent product is 2013's Fight EP.

At the Bowery Ballroom tonight, Kincheloe was a big voice in a small frame as she belted out original songs about love or loss, happiness or heartbreak. While she was a commanding presence on stage, smoldering embers burned behind her. She brought the swagger and the musicians brought the twang. The soaring vocalist was ably supported by her brother Jackson Kincheloe on a wailing harmonica and Sasha Brown driving a hard-edged lead guitar, along with a bright horn trio and a rhythm section. The band harkened back to the days before synthesizers, when musicians stretched out on a simple rhythm and blues song by jamming wildly and cohesively on natural instruments. This proved to be more than backup, this was a tight and powerful collective playing sassy, brassy and classy grooves ranging in style from sharp New Orleans funk to muddy Memphis soul.

Visit Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds at