Birdie Busch
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Birdie Busch


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The best kept secret in music


"TWWT press"


May 25, 2006
The Ways We Try is one of the slyest neo-folky records in recent memory, its blues loopy and eccentric, and its simple melodies often as inspired as say, Syd Barrett’s.

June 11, 2006
ARIEL VIEW: If the 25-year-old Emily ‘Birdie’ Busch is this good on her first album, we’re expecting greatness by album No. 2. Her girlish voice and poetic style comes on strong, breathing vivid life into the country-inflected opener ‘The Cup’ and the old timey swinger ‘Gigi’.
SOUNDS LIKE: Gillian Welch, Beth Orton, Norah Jones.

“From the gentle swing of "Cup" to the bluesy Randy Newman-esque closer "Room Above the City," The Ways We Try is so subtle in its execution that it may get lost among the bevy of louder, lamer, and more opulent acts of 2006, but if the business were fair, and the cream really did rise to the top, there would be one less employee doing the serving.”

JUNE 2006
Every folk-pop debut should be as buoyant as Birdie Busch’s The Ways We Try. Charming, unpretentious and hooky, it’s refreshing for it’s simplicity….

Cleanly produced by multi-instrumentalist Devin Greenwood, the album's swaying, folk-pop sound is a fine match for Busch's straightforward vocals. Her strength as a lyricist lies in the ability to add layers of meaning to the most seemingly simple of lines.

JUNE 2006
Combining Gillian Welch’s congregational hush and folk reverence with Sara Hickman’s sly sidelong observational humor and pop ebullience, Philadelphia singer-songwriter Emily “Birdie” Busch distinguishes herself with a quietly expansive sound and a quirky, intimate songwriting style on her debut CD.

JUNE 8, 2006
Rather than lovelorn paeans common in songwriters her age, the music that became The Ways We Try presents listeners with richly descriptive vignettes, snapshots of life. The sweetly funky ragtime of "Gigi" describes a childhood visit to her grandmother's house. The delicate piano closer "Room in the City" channels a rainy European side street where two young lovers are lost in their daydreams.

May 5, 2006
Busch's honest, insightful songwriting and delicate voice have inspired a growing fan base, and since the release of The Ways We Try, she has opened for artists like Dar Williams and Amos Lee. Hear Busch recorded live in concert from World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

March 2006
Short and sweet. Warm and honest. Birdie Busch presents a beautiful first album.

- various


2007-Penny Arcade
2006-The Ways We Try
Airplay on 'gigi', 'secret hour', 'wild mountain honey', 'water under the bridge'


Feeling a bit camera shy


In 2006, the Village Voice said of her acclaimed debut, “The Ways We Try is one of the slyest neo-folky records in recent memory, its blues loopy and eccentric, and its simple melodies often as inspired as say, Syd Barrett’s.” That unique sound has elicited raves from the press and created genuine anticipation for her new album: “If Birdie Busch is this good on her first, we expect greatness for #2” (, “Busch closes by using a full rich band on the last track, concluding the freshman record the way the sophomore should begin” (CMJ).

Birdie’s newest release, Penny Arcade, does indeed build on the promise of The Ways We Try. Again working with producer and musician Devin Greenwood (Norah Jones, Amos Lee), the two decided to record the bulk of the album in South Philly in a room in Devin’s house, dubbed “The Honey Jar.” They then moved to Scullville Studios, NJ – further adding to the homespun sonic statement. Additional inspiration came from a trip to the Stax Museum in Memphis TN, where the influence of close-knit community and collaboration conjured up real magic on the Arcade recordings.

Along with Birdie and Devin, multi-instrumentalists Todd Erk and Ross Bellenoit worked on Penny Arcade, with everyone switching instruments and playing different parts to find the best core groove for each song. As Birdie explains, “I loved witnessing the quality of music that comes about when people are thrown together because they are neighbors and friends, believers and musicians, all able to have this dialogue that somehow seems more intimate. There’s a certain feeling that is transmitted in making use of that. I’m conscious of wanting to make meaningful work with the people I’ve come to know meaningfully.”

If Birdie’s first album was like peeking into a quieter world of journal meanderings and short vignettes, Penny Arcade is more of a rousing musical manifesto, with declarations of forgiveness, mercy, mysticism, and beyond. Pop culture references appear in songs like “Go Go Gadget Heart” and Birdie’s highly-requested interpretation of the Steve Miller Band gem “Wild Mountain Honey.” Penny Arcade offers shiftier tempos, evolving sounds, a verve for songwriting and a voice that perfectly characterizes each song. Melodies infuse and refuse to leave the brain; words seem to resonate even more in songs like “Clemency,” which captures the essence of Birdie’s writing and general outlook on life.

Birdie Busch weaves wonderfully upbeat arrangements and heartfelt messages with a natural whimsy and looseness usually honed by more experienced songwriters. Penny Arcade delivers on the expectations in her first recordings, and will again find an audience of fans who appreciate her fascinating style, resolute honesty and refreshing sense of melody and lyric.