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Published on May 31, 2016
May 31, 2016 by BOB BOILEN • It's been a joy to hear the music of Andrew Bird shift and change. Bird's early music, from the late '90s, was steeped in hot jazz and blues music from the early days of the phonograph, then later shifted to new technologies using loop pedals to layer voice, whistling and violin. His lyrics often have a calculated quality, filled with abundant wordplay and observations.
This year, Bird made one of his most personal albums, Are You Serious. So it felt appropriate that he would play some of his most personal work in this most intimate of settings, the Tiny Desk.
For this performance of three new songs, Bird came with a stripped-down acoustic band: just drums, upright bass and acoustic guitar, with Bird himself on violin. It functioned something like a hot jazz ensemble, with no effects pedals; just the songs, front and center, sounding perfect.