“Bluebirds are symbolic of rebirth and second chances,” says Marta Fiedler during the opening interview sequence of Blue Bird's live video of the song “Perfect Day”, shot by stalwart Omaha film crew Ingrained. Blue Bird has become, in a way, that rebirth for Fiedler. After her first project, Lincoln, Nebraska's Hymn From the Hurricane, called it quits she gave up on writing and performing music completely for a few years. It didn't take long, however, for new songs to begin taking over her consciousness. By late 2009 Fiedler found herself with a large batch of songs and preparing to enter ARC Studios in Omaha to record with producer/engineer AJ Mogis who has worked with such artists as Cursive, The Get Up Kids, The Faint, Rilo Kiley, Pete Yorn, etc. Those sessions turned into 2010's Metamorphosis EP and the more recently (June 2012) released eponymous LP.
If 2009 was the rebirth, then 2010 became the second chance. In August of that year Fiedler assembled a band to begin performing live shows. The roster has seen a few changes since then and currently consists of Fiedler (lead vocals, piano, acoustic guitar), Vince Giambattista (guitar), Matt McClure (bass) and Rob Mathews (drums). Darci Boyer (backup vocals) is scheduled to appear with the band for some shows in 2013.
The summers of both 2011 and 2012 took Blue Bird and their sounds of intimate instrumentation, soaring vocals, and confessional lyrics on tours of the Midwest and East Coast that brought them to the cities of New York, Chicago, Nashville, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Louisville, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and more. These shows have steadily broadened their fan base, all the while drawing comparisons to such acts as Jenny Lewis, She & Him, Loretta Lynn, pre-hits Bangles, Feist, etc. Also in 2011 Blue Bird was nominated for an Omaha Entertainment & Arts Award for “Best Indie Band”. In the early months of 2012 the band was handpicked by Sonic Bids and maurice's Clothing Stores to compete against 3 other acts to land a spot at a SXSW showcase.
Blue Bird is currently continuing to play in their hometown of Omaha, Nebraska as well as regionally as they begin writing material for their next release and subsequent tours. As of late the band has begun incorporating more electronic elements into their sound, while still keeping the core influences.
Marta Fiedler - Piano, Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Rob Mathews - Drums
Vince Giambattista - Guitar
Matt McClure - Bass
Darci Boyer - Vocals, keys
Metamorphosis EP - 2010
Blue Bird - 2012
Blue Bird EP Review
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Self-described as “make-out” music, the debut EP, Metamorphosis, from Omaha’s 7-piece band, Blue Bir...Self-described as “make-out” music, the debut EP, Metamorphosis, from Omaha’s 7-piece band, Blue Bird is making retro-infused waves. Sweet songstress Marta Fiedler croons lovey-dovey sentiment through a skilled rollercoaster of vocals on top of a band with a full wingspan of sound. This EP is well-written music that seems to hit the target mark of love song meets bicycles on a nature trail. Blue Bird incorporates everything to be missed about the untainted innocence of generations past and combines it with the exciting prospects of the future, all while holding your hand. Aptly-named title track, “Metamorphosis”, is the most progressive and fully blossomed on the EP, and perhaps the most fascinating with its intriguing harmonies and mentions of a lover changed. Overall, the la-dee-dahs and lovebird tunes are perfect for, well, makin’ out.
the Debut of Blue Bird
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Saturday night at The Barley Street Tavern. Part of the fun of The Lepers’ set was watching the r...Saturday night at The Barley Street Tavern.
Part of the fun of The Lepers’ set was watching the reaction from a crowd that probably had no idea what sort of music they were in for. These friends of Blue Bird certainly weren’t prepared for a two-man freak-out noise collage. I’ve seen Lepers more times than I care to remember, and this performance was right in line with all of them. Their music is tribal and borders on disturbing, an obvious progeny of Sonic Youth noise rock. For it to succeed, it can’t be confined to the Barley Street’s PA limitations — in other words, it needs to be loud, so loud that it generates confusion and fear, that it forces people to be trapped inside it, for better or worse.
I didn’t time it, but it seemed like it took a full half-hour for Blue Bird to get set up after Lepers, and for most of that time, the crowd (which continued to grow and grow to a staggering 40 or 50) were treated to Ben Sieff’s bass noodling along with assorted violin and clarinet tuning — I thought to myself, “Oh, so this is hell. I thought it would be so much warmer.” After 10 minutes of stage noise I was ready to pull my hair out, but it takes a long time to get eight people set up. That’s right, eight people — Blue Bird’s total inventory included two keyboards, guitar, drums, bass, two backup singers (one of them was Megan Morgan, who’s not a permanent member of the band) and that violin.
It’s an ambitious line-up that heralds back the days when Bright Eyes was towing a U-Haul filled with 16 musicians while touring his Wide Awake album. The days of huge ensembles are long gone in an era when bands don’t make any money and are looking for ways to cut costs. Except of course for Midwest Dilemma, and now Blue Bird. You have to hand it to frontwoman Marta Fiedler for finding a way to make it all work, though you have to wonder if a band that large could ever really afford to go on tour.
Was all that firepower necessary for Saturday night’s show? Probably not. What stood out most about Blue Bird was Fiedler’s pretty Midwestern voice that was accented by a slight country-western lilt. She indeed sounds like a Nebraska version of Jenny Lewis on songs derived from the indie-Americana template. You’ll be reminded of Lewis and She & Him and The Mynabirds and all the other women-led bands that seem to be making a mark on indie these days — especially locally, when was the last time we had so many women contributing so much musically? Fiedler has an advantage over a lot of them in how she writes songs — there was always something in the compositions that surprised me. Maybe it was just her own voice slipping through.
As a whole, the band did fine — they made it work. This was, after all, their first gig playing together in this ensemble (almost all are veterans of other bands). The set had a rough launch due to a Fiedler’s malfunctioning microphone that kept shorting out — I can’t imagine anything worse happening during an opening number. Fiedler responded like a real pro, singing through the technical difficulties as the sound guy brought her another mic. Despite the annoying pre-show noodling, Sieff played the role of godsend, placing a solid foundation for everyone to build upon, along with drummer Rob Mathews. It’s hard to judge the rest of the ensemble, especially considering The Barley Street’s obvious limitations (There’s so little space on its “stage” that it seemed like a couple members of the band were pushed right into the crowd). The violin was perfectly played, but unnecessary, along with the backing vocals, and it doesn’t get any better than Carrie Butler and Morgan. Ian Simons’ place is behind the keyboard, not the clarinet. Oh, he played it just fine, but I think there should be a law that says clarinets shouldn’t be allowed in rock bands. They tend to turn every song into a Bah Mitzvah. I’d like to hear what these guys sound like in a venue with a real sound system (Slowdown, The Waiting Room); and I’d love to hear these songs preformed as a trio.
Finally, Landing on the Moon closed out the evening at just before 1 and uncorked their usual fine set. Their centerpiece continues to be their anthem to the Omaha music scene, “California” — a dyed-in-the-wool crowd pleaser if ever there was one.
Metamorphosis by Blue Bird
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by Casey Welsch In Metamorphosis, Omaha’s new female-fronted indie-pop-Americana-doo-wop band, Bl...by Casey Welsch
In Metamorphosis, Omaha’s new female-fronted indie-pop-Americana-doo-wop band, Blue Bird, has crafted a moving, delicate yet richly instrumented EP.
Blue Bird frontwoman Marta Fiedler describes her band's sound as “make-out music,” and that gets pretty close, but the new album goes deeper than that. Her voice has a kind of mournful beauty that lends itself equally to songs of both joy and pain. And the songwriting runs that gambit plenty.
Blue Bird is a richly orchestrated seven-piece that borrows members from bands such as Eagle Seagull and Thunder Power. The mesh of sounds they produce is gorgeous. Subtle guitars hum behind prominent pianos, with a pipe organ only perceivable if you’re listening for it in the background, and Fiedler’s vocals ever in the foreground.
“It seems like we’ve made it through a lot. You don’t believe in heaven, but you still try for a spot,” she coos on the track “Don’t Leave Me.” “Maybe this is all a test, and maybe it’s not. Could you be content with what you’ve got?”
Lyrically, “Metamorphosis” is emotional without becoming sappy. These are real feelings — relatable feelings. Songs like “Everything Can Change,” a slow, chamber-folk ballad about life's constant little struggles are a perfect example. And Fiedler’s voice has everything it needs to carry everything home. There’s talk of the uncertainty of the future throughout “Metamorphosis.” Who can’t relate?
However, the band sounds as if it's holding back, musically. Each song is very contained, with minimal shifts in momentum throughout. With so many players and so much possibility, I would like to have heard them go for some bigger sounds, some bigger feelings. Let the guitars have some fun. Do more with the keys. They have the manpower, and the womanpower. I think they’re capable.
But maybe that’s just not Blue Bird’s style. They seem perfectly content with their atmospheric, almost-Americana sound, and it sounds good on them.
This is just a five-track EP, but it’s impressive. It sounds great in headphones, and in the car. It hits you right where you need it.
Blue Bird is trying to go on tour, and has a Kickstarter page set up to help fund it. You can help the cause here. See them perform Saturday at Barley Street Tavern, 2735 N. 62nd St., 9 p.m., $5. with Pony Wars and Death of a Taxpayer.
You can listen to some of their tracks here.
Casey Welsch is an editorial intern at Hear Nebraska. He's secure in his masculinity. Contact him at email@example.com.
Instrumentally diverse band Blue Bird tours Midwest
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Last Saturday marked the anniversary of Omaha band Blue Bird's first practice. The seven-member grou...Last Saturday marked the anniversary of Omaha band Blue Bird's first practice. The seven-member group has had an eventful year with a two-week tour on the East Coast and now, gigs in the Midwest including Sioux Falls, S.D., and Kansas City. But this week, Blue Bird is staying in Omaha and playing at The Waiting Room.
Blue Bird is known by its fans for possessing an eclectic sound stemming from genres including soul, pop, doo-wop, folk and Americana, which is folk music with country influences, according to Blue Bird keys and clarinet player Ian Simmons.
Blue Bird's musical influences include ‘50s girl groups, the Mamas and the Papas, Roy Orbison, Otis Redding, ABBA, ELO, Emmylou Harris, Leonard Cohen and the Kinks.
Lead vocalist and Blue Bird director Marta Fiedler said the group didn't want to limit their music to just one genre.
"We didn't have any musical intentions, we just figured out as a band what the songs were," she said.
Not only is Blue Bird's sound diverse but so are the members. Fiedler, along with her backup vocalists Carrie Butler, soprano, and Samantha Brock, alto, all have classical orchestra backgrounds, and Blue Bird members Simmons, Rob Mathews, Matt McClure and Vince Giambattista have all played in other bands, including Eagle Seagull and Thunder Power.
"What makes us unique is all the different influences we put together to make the sound that we have," drummer Mathews said.
Blue Bird uses a variety of genres and musicians but also instruments: violin, bass, drums, clarinet, keys and guitar. And anyone of the members has enough fluidity to sing any parts if they want to, Fiedler said. Each member can also play several instruments.
Thursday, Blue Bird will show off their diverse music with bands The Benningtons and Sun Settings.
"Playing in Omaha is great because it's an excuse to get our friends together and play with other great bands," Fiedler said.
Fiedler said Blue Bird's music is something every generation enjoys from grandparents all the way down to children, another aspect of the band's fluidity.
"I think it's unique that we make music that's kind of timeless," Fiedler said.
Blue Bird's Facebook page allows users to listen and buy songs from a playlist including "The War," "Don't Leave Me," "Everything Can Change" and "Metamorphosis."
Blue Bird to release new CD Saturday
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article photo Blue Bird will release a new album at The Waiting Room Saturday. Published Thursda...
Blue Bird will release a new album at The Waiting Room Saturday.
Published Thursday June 14, 2012
Blue Bird to release new CD Saturday
By Kevin Coffey
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
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Blue Bird releases a new album Saturday at the Waiting Room Lounge.
The album, appropriately titled “Blue Bird,” features singer and songwriter Marta Fiedler's vocals at center stage.
Backing her is a six-piece band that pushes melodies through folk, pop and Americana. Though Fiedler's voice is strong and touching, you shouldn't discount the band. Mixing piano, reverb-heavy guitars, violin and other instruments, it makes tracks that would be just as good without lyrics.
Fiedler's lyrics often are confessional and detail ups and downs such as the line “Though my sad experience inclines me to give up... I still believe in love.”
“The Apple of My Eye” is a great song that finishes with a thing not often heard in indie rock: A long guitar solo. “I Still Believe” has a ‘50s-pop feel that fans of She & Him will really dig.
The band is streaming the entire album at bluebirdlovesyou.com.
Catch the band Saturday at 9 p.m. with openers Skypiper, Lonely Estates and The Big Deep. A $7 cover charge includes the new album.
I interviewed Fiedler about the release, but was not able to fit it in the column. Head to my blog (rockcandy.omaha.com) for the full interview.
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