Oh! Wild Birds
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Oh! Wild Birds

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States | SELF

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States | SELF
Band Rock Folk

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"Oh! Wild Birds prepares to take flight."

It is a week before the CD release party of local band Oh! Wild Birds and IN is on the phone with Savannah Bouton, one of the two co-founders and six musicians who make up the eccentric band. Bouton is genuinely warm over the phone, and a little bit nervous at the thought of having to answer questions on behalf of the whole band. As her nerves begin to subside, it becomes clear that the multi-faceted instrumentalist/vocalist is incredibly proud of Oh! Wild Birds, and is prepared to make a lifelong commitment to the band even if they go nowhere else but Salt Lake City.

When Oh! Wild Birds formed in September of 2007, they really did not have much of an agenda other than to get together and play and write music. Each of the six members are skilled in at least one instrument and Bouton herself plays at least four instruments for the band in addition to providing the lead vocals.

"Everybody has been taught in music in some way or another," says Bouton, who attempts to go over the incredibly long list of musical experience that each band member maintains.

With so much musical experience in one band, it becomes easy to understand why Bouton has difficulty describing the music of Oh! Wild Birds. And now, in only a matter of 18 months since their formation, the sextet is gearing up to celebrate the release of their first studio album.

"I don't think anybody understood what it takes to be in a band. We had a whole set written in three months but we did not know what were getting into. You definitely have to pay your dues in Salt Lake, I'm not gonna lie," reveals Bouton, who goes on to explain that the band would play numerous shows on Tuesday nights to smaller crowds in the hopes of getting a spot on the coveted Friday night slot at many venues.

In addition to playing many shows throughout the week, the members of Oh! Wild Birds were also working on the creation of their first record, which became problematic for the group as their weeknight shows were beginning to conflict with the desire to record their album.

"We learned that you need to put all of your energy in one place instead of trying to do it all at once. It took us about five months to record because we were doing everything," explains Bouton.

What became of the band's five months worth of recording was their first studio album, "So Long, Cowboy." When listening to the record, it comes as a surprise that this is the debut album for Oh! Wild Birds. The band maintains immense musical talent, and the voice of Bouton is crystal clear, almost like a songbird, or perhaps a wild bird. Her voice is so pure that it could cut through glass, but not before the beautiful violin strings that are hauntingly played throughout the album.

Self-defined as "Alternative Gypsy Baroque," Oh! Wild Birds are ready to break through the local music scene and beyond.

"I think a lot of people have their favorite genre that they want to stick in, but we went into this not knowing what we wanted. We're not set on developing a certain sound. We let the music take us away instead of trying to control the music and we want to relate to people on every emotional level," explains Bouton.

With their desire to connect to music fans great or small, and the determination to break out of the "rock 'n' roll" mold that, according to the band, is quite abundant in Salt Lake, Oh! Wild Birds is preparing for an even more successful next 18 months. So buck up cowboy, because this band is going to take you on one hell of a ride. - In Magazine


"Oh! Wild Birds - CD Review"

Oh! Wild Birds

Local CD Reviews
By Brian Staker

4_stars Falcon Crest
3_stars Dallas
2_stars Days of Our Lives
1_star Passions


Oh! Wild Birds, So Long, Cowboy (Midnight Records)

4_stars.

Oh! Wild Birds’ debut release is one of the first albums to come out of Salt Lake City recording studio Midnight Records. In the eight songs on So Long, Cowboy there’s enough breathing space for violins, piano and mandolin without seeming cramped in their jewel case. And they found their drummer on Craigslist, proving the Website isn’t just for killers and sexual predators. In the mix, the six musicians in this band have put together what may be the local album of the year. Stylistically, O!WB blend elements of bluegrass, altcountry and indie groups in which the songwriting is the style, like Decemberists or the New Pornographers. The deft instrumental mix even includes theremin, but the really striking sound is the voice of Savannah Bouton, whose breathy enunciation evokes at times Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins, at others Bjork. And she’s just one of three well-voiced singers in the band. Her “Informally Trained In Love” is an outright torch song, going from sparks to embers and back again. - Salt Lake City Weekly


"Freak Folk Merry-Go-Round"

The six multi-instrumentalists that make up Oh! Wild Birds clearly have a freakin’ ball playing through epic songs that sound part Arcade Fire, part Faun Fables, part DeVotchKa. It’s entertaining to watch as each member puts down one instrument and deftly picks up another on song after song after song—not to mention the pipes on the oft-Sharpie-mustachioed lone female in the group. With a debut album due out later this spring, Oh! Wild Birds will continue spreading freak folk that’s not too overly freakish. Myspace.com/OhWildBirds (Jacob Stringer) - Salt Lake City Weekly


"All In: SLC’s Oh! Wild Birds perfect their balancing act."

By Jacob Stringer

Most local bands tend to limit their numbers to three or four members apiece—and for good reason.

Anyone who has spent time in a band knows that more does not always translate to merrier. It’s often difficult to round everyone up for practice and to deal with multiple writing and arranging influences. It’s hard to simplify and let the songs breathe when you have six people playing their eager little hearts out. And, remember, it is oh-so hard to balance those oh-so-precious budding rock-star egos. Trust me, it’s hard.

Sure, there are exceptions. Salt Lake City’s Vile Blue Shades, for example, manages to keep it more or less together with seven or so contributors rounding out the pack. Most bands, though, are content with the trio/quartet configuration.

But take note: The local freak-folk collage known as Oh! Wild Birds make it seem easy.

Not long ago singer-songwriters Savannah Bouton and Scott Lee started tinkering around and were soon joined by a violinist, followed closely by Jeremy Asay who answered Bouton’s ad on Craigslist looking for a drummer. Asay is not a drummer but he wanted to jam and the resulting three-hour idea fest cemented the deal. It was at a gig of sorts that percussionist extraordinaire Ross Westwater walked up and noted wryly that the trio needed a drummer. Bouton agreed and soon after they all started officially playing gigs as Oh! Wild Birds. When one violinist departed, Asay’s friend Ryan Berger stepped up and into the band that same day. Months later, after finally accepting the fact that their sound needed a metronomic bassist, Bouton asked boyfriend Jared Whear to join the fray.

It sounds complicated but, according to the band, the ease with which they assembled—then quickly got to playing and then quickly got to recording—seemed so natural it just felt right, a bit like fate.

And that’s the trick. Oh! Wild Birds sound and feel as if they have been a local mainstay for quite some time now. But the band with the exclamation point has only been flitting about the State of Salt for around a year and a half. And if you want to get technical about it, the band’s lineup as it exists on their debut So Long Cowboy has only been solidified since mid-January or so.

Such has been the fast and wild ride that is the Oh!

In fact, when Whear joined, the band was already halfway through recording So Long Cowboy—a reference to the imminent departure of one of the founding members. This coming and going of members is to be somewhat expected when dealing with six different entities with six different sets of daily life’s baggage. But Oh! Wild Birds is hell-bent on keeping the revolving door to a minimum.

Staying close allows for the merry-goround antics of their playing style—where each member plays multiple instruments including the mighty Theremin. It’s what allows for egos to be dropped to the wayside and an experimental nature to reign supreme. It’s what allows for a boyfriend to join his girlfriend’s band simply because a need for a bassist arose. It’s also what allows for the natural silences and space necessary for six people and more than 20 instruments to share a stage without the expectant wreck of resulting sounds.

Yep, such a tightly knit relationship, such trust, is what allows for Oh! Wild Birds to do what they do so well. - Salt Lake City Weekly


Discography

So Long, Cowboy (2009)
Pocket, Never Come Up for Air, Cowboy, and Joker all receive consistent airplay on college radio and LastFM.

Photos

Bio

Anyone who has spent time in a band knows that more does not always translate to merrier. It's often difficult to round everyone up for practice and to deal with multiple writing and arranging influences. It's hard to simplify and let the songs breathe when you have five people playing their eager little hearts out. And, remember, it is oh-so hard to balance those oh-so-precious budding rock-star egos. Trust me, it's hard.
Sure, there are exceptions. Most bands, though, are content with the trio/quartet configuration.

But take note: The local freak-folk collage known as Oh! Wild Birds make it seem easy.
Not long ago singer-songwriter Savannah Bouton started tinkering around with a violinist, followed closely by Jeremy Asay who answered Bouton's ad on Craigslist looking for a drummer. Asay is not a drummer but he wanted to jam and the resulting three-hour idea fest cemented the deal. It was at a gig of sorts that percussionist extraordinaire Ross Westwater walked up and noted wryly that the trio needed a drummer. Bouton agreed and soon after they all started officially playing gigs as Oh! Wild Birds. Months later, after finally accepting the fact that their sound needed a metronomic bassist, Bouton asked boyfriend Jared Whear to join the fray.
It sounds complicated but, according to the band, the ease with which they assembled then quickly got to playing and then quickly got to recording seemed so natural it just felt right, a bit like fate.
And that's the trick. Oh! Wild Birds sound and feel as if they have been a local mainstay for quite some time now. But the band with the exclamation point has only been flitting about the State of Salt for around a year and a half. And if you want to get technical about it, the band's lineup as it exists on their debut So Long, Cowboy has only been solidified since mid-January or so.
Such has been the fast and wild ride that is the Oh!
With the most recent addition of Waichira Waigwa-Stone on percussion, marimba, and piano, the band has solidified its current lineup and has begun recording a second album.

Staying close allows for the merry-go-round antics of their playing style where each member plays multiple instruments including the mighty dulcimer. It's what allows for egos to be dropped to the wayside and an experimental nature to reign supreme. It's what allows for a boyfriend to join his girlfriend's band simply because a need for a bassist arose. It's also what allows for the natural silences and space necessary for five people and more than 20 instruments to share a stage without the expectant wreck of resulting sounds.

Yep, such a tightly knit relationship, such trust, is what allows for Oh! Wild Birds to do what they do so well.