The last release by Birds of Chicago ‘Love In Wartime’ may prove to be a prescient title before too long given reports from the UK food industry that in the event of a no-deal Brexit the Government will have to put the population on a command-economy war footing for the purposes of rationing and co-ordination of food resources. Quite how the British public will respond to such circumstances is uncertain, although expecting some kind of stoical response along World War II lines is probably fanciful seeing as the Police had to ask people to stop calling 999 when KFC ran out of chicken last February.
Founded in Chicago in 2012, but now based in Nashville, this musical collective centred on husband and wife duo of Allison Russell and JT Nero, have been quietly but assuredly building a fan base since then, often touring an average of 200 nights a year. ‘Love In Wartime’ was recorded against the backdrop of the division wrought by the Trump election and is essentially a companion piece to their previous EP, ‘American Flowers’, the latter somewhat country and fiddle influenced, while the new record draws more widely from a range of sources for its musical inspiration.
Almost impossible to pigeonhole musically on ‘Love in Wartime’, Birds of Chicago achieve a successful melange of soul, rock, roots, blues-gospel and jazz funk across a raft of different songs. But a single underlying theme unites the material like a golden thread throughout the record – Allison Russell, the lead singer, having said that any act of love is akin to “an act of bravery” in such troubled times. “We want to give people some good news. And we want them to be able to dance when they hear it.”
Birds of Chicago perform at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival followed by two dates in Switzerland, before heading back to the United States. However, they return to the UK in October for a run of 12 dates. JT Nero says, “a good show can send you back out into the night feeling – for at least a little while – that everything isn’t broken.” With the car crash of Brexit looming we could probably do with some cheering up. See you on the other side.
Birds of Chicago Tour Dates:
SAT 24 Aug – Shrewsbury Folk Festival
SUN 20 Oct – Sessions Music Club at St Mary’s Hall, Whistable
MON 21 Oct – Komedia, Brighton
WED 23 Oct – Oslo, London
FRI 25 Oct – The Bodega, Nottingham
SAT 26 Oct – Folk House Cafe & Bar, Bristol
SUN 27 Oct – Night & Day Cafe, Manchester
MON 28 Oct – The Doublet Bar, Glasgow
TUE 29 Oct – Glenbuchet Hall and Bothy, Strathdon
WED 30 Oct – The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
THU 31 Oct – Live theatre, Newcastle
FRI 1 Nov – Town Hall, Kirton In Lindsey
SAT 2 Nov – The Forge at the Anvil, Basingstoke