Paper Bird
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Paper Bird

Denver, Colorado, United States | INDIE

Denver, Colorado, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Paper Bird on"

{paper bird}

I know a girl that makes paper birds by the thousands. She sets them, in their varying sizes, in my hand. I inspect them. They are resting just as much as they are poised in their perch; ready to propel up and away into the starry day.

Now I am looking at Paper Bird. A musical sextet, they resemble the birds that the girl placed in my hand: They are at once resting just as much as they are poised for flight. And while this band is too young to be seen as the kind of beacon that they will one day be, they have, by all accounts, left the nest. They have taken to flight. In test runs and scouting missions. Over the cliffs and back.

And oh my, can they fly…

More than any other act this year, I had heard more about Paper Bird before seeing them. Comprised of a perfect balance of the sexes, they are, in position on stage, a truly refreshing and exalted blend of today and yesteryear. They are, in sound and dynamics, an uplifting pendulum of rhythm and song and dance.

But what I’ve been asking myself, after pouring over their gorgeous and markedly unorthodox debut album, is: what kind of bird, exactly, is this collective of aviators? Are they a flight of cormorants? A convocation of eagles? A siege of herons?

Finches. Clearly, they are finches. Songbirds. Collectively, they are (fittingly): A charm or, a trembling, of finches.

And these paper finches’ provenance came in the shape of a serendipitous flood that fell from the open sky. After retreating to a cabin in July of 2006 for no other reason than to commune with friends and the elements – they forever walked out of that cabin and those woods very different. For upon arrival, several of the birds began singing their songs. Others joined. And nearly immediately the wheel was put into motion and instantaneously a chorus was created. After the formation of 7 songs the sextet (Sarah Anderson, vocals; Esme Patterson, vocals; Genny Patterson, vocals; Tyler Archuletta, trombone; Paul DeHaven, guitar; Caleb Summeril, banjo) began busking on the streets of Breckenridge.

Now, only a year later, and Paper Bird has spread its wings and taken to flight. And the flap of their wings has been heard long and far. Certainly those of us still earth bound in Denver have been buzzing with their praise.

Paper Bird is many things.

They are a 3-part female harmony up front and a 3-part instrumental in the back.

They are a family.


They are six strange and wonderful kids – you know those creatures you’ve seen playing leap frog down the sidewalk? Well, that’s them. Or maybe you seen some strange gaggle of geese in clothes playing follow the leader? Yeah, well… They’re young. But I’m not so sure that’s why they do what they do, in the ways they do. For this author, the Paper Bird family’s approach has to do with something else. A different paradigm that does not discriminate, or wither with age. In this, you’ll always find them smiling. In age and in vigor, they are youthful and not afraid of it. For this and more they stand a grand chance at creating something that is actually lasting. Actually virtuous. Actually beautiful.

Note to reader: Paper Bird gives good hugs.

The band has all been together as a unit for just over a year. Apparently that’s as long as it takes to create an irrevocable sense of family. Because that’s what seems to have happened. Through circumstance and intention, the sextet lives and plays together. And it all came about because all their individual flight patterns lead them to the same ledge. The same perch. At the same time.

And while it’s still too early to honestly make a bold prediction, the evident reality is that they are cosmically yoked together with an invisible string. One that binds them from heart to heart. Head to head. And song to song.

Just as all finches in the natural world have 12 tail feathers, despite their diverging backgrounds, the Paper Birds all possess a common flight plan: They are all concerned about notions of community. More than that, like their music, these passerines are proactive in their approach – in making what’s in their head – real. And not to belabor the point but what they do musically seems to mirror what they do and want to do, in life.

In process, the Birds’ are all singers. They’re all songwriters. They’re all musicians. And while (Esme) Patterson and DeHaven have taken the lead as the poets of the group, – all have dabbled with the pen and contributed lyrically to the pieces they presented to the group.

The members of Paper Bird are young. Real young. And so it all the more remarkable that they have tapped into the sound that they have. For their sound is the song of a million middle century charms playing as one grand symphony. Their sound is black and white twentieth century America at its best. It is the world smiling. It is the world singing. It is those inhabiting this marble – working and living and loving in earnest. With responsibility and poetry as their action.

So far their story is about a coming together. It is about the little community that they have created. It is, topically, a simple story only because it is still unfolding.

Admittedly, everything has come quick: the banding together, the songs, the love, and even a recent and nearly-tragic bus accident.

But it is on account of all of this and more we are fortunate to have the chance to watch these Birds’ unfurl their wings and take to the grand and mysterious flight that they were born to make.

Stay abreast of Paper Birds’ flight pattern, here:


1. Take a square piece of paper and fold it in half, so that it looks like a rectangle. Unfold.
2. Do the same thing the other way.
3. Make sure that two clear creases are showing, and fold into a triangle (and unfold again).
4. By pushing the two corners inwards, you should be able to get a rhombus.
5. Fold each side inwards (there are four) so that on both sides it looks like a kite.
6. Fold the top corner down to either side.
7. Lift only ONE layer of the paper upwards, making it look like a tall diamond. Do the same on the other side.
8. Fold each side inwards, like in step #5.
9. Fold the sides outwards, making the paper look like a fox's head.
10. Fold up both sides, and make a head and a tail, by shaping it anyway you like.
11. Fold the wings open and WHAM! you have a PAPER BIRD!

"Paper Bird @ The Botanic Gardens"

Paper Bird brought their melodic, harmony-laced music to the Denver Botanic Gardens last week.

Reverb contributor Brian Carney checks in with this photo essay of Denver’s happy-go-lucky neo-folk act Paper Bird, which played the Denver Botanic Gardens last week.

"really nice photos, brian.
it helps, of course, that they’re such a photogenic band!
cannot wait for that gothic show!"
"Nice pix, and a great band … I thought they were the stars of the night."
"It’s a good newspaper that prints such positive images and thoughts. It’s a great band that provides such subject matter! Kudos to The Post and Paper Bird!"
"we were at the botanic gardens and saw Paper Bird….the best sound we’ve heard in years. We will go to see them again and again!"
- Reverb:The Denver Post

"Paper Bird @ The BlueBird Theater"

Paper Bird, a band that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into a speakeasy (with three girls singing seriously beautiful harmonies, to boot), were the first group, followed by Joshua Novak’s raw, energetic, addictive music. And the lovely ladies of Bela Karoli rounded out the openers, enveloping the audience with their darkly exotic sounds and somehow making instruments such as an upright bass, accordion and assorted strings look sexy as hell.

I’m still wondering if they’d be willing to teach a class on that.

"A Movable Feast @ The Walnut Room"

"Opening with a group called Paper Bird, a sextet of three Andrews-sisters-style vocalists, a banjo player, a trombonist and an acoustic guitar, the show started strong. The Walnut Room’s crystal sound and mellow atmosphere was perfect for enjoying all the evening’s artists, but Paper Bird’s ragtimey, dixieland set was simply amazing. Flawless female vocals mixed with retro-sounding instrumentation will take these musicians far, and I couldn’t help but feel I was witnessing the beginning of something very special during their act." -

"Artist of the week - Paper Bird"

"I am currently in love with Denver-based Paperbird. This band is made of 3 girls that have beautiful voices separately and when they are intertwined they create delicious harmonies. The ladies are back by 3 gentlemen playing the banjo, acoustic guitar and trombone and the total effect makes you feel as though you’re back in the 1920s. When I see them in concert I half expect to see drinks served out of a bathtub full of gin and flappers smoking those long cigarettes. Do yourself a favor and visit them on myspace, buy their album and then go see their next concert. You won’t regret it."

"Class of 08 in Westword Magazine"

"By my count, there are nearly 600 active bands on the Front Range now — 600! And those are just the ones I'm aware of. With that many acts crowding the landscape, an artist has to be compelling as hell to stand out. But as I marveled in my year-end column last month, just when I think we're close to reaching critical mass in terms of quality, a new wave of intriguing artists surfaces. To wit: There are at least a dozen artists I'll be keeping an eye on this year, including these first six (check back next week for the rest).

Paper Bird ( is at the very top of my list. I'm hopelessly smitten with the vocals of this trio of ladies (Esmé and Genevieve Patterson and Sarah Anderson) and the pastoral backdrops created by their male counterparts (guitarist Paul DeHaven and Tyler Archuletta and Caleb Summeril, on trombone and banjo, respectively). Imagine a more beguiling Jolie Holland with the sublime, mellifluous, old-timey harmonies of the Chordettes. This is music to fall in love to — or with, as the case may be. Catch Paper Bird this Saturday, February 2, at Old Main on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder. " -

"Band brings blend of harmony and silliness to CU"

Boulder based folk/bluegrass band Paper Bird plays at Don Quixotes on Thursday, Oct. 4. A combination of harmonious voices, deep trombone, lively banjo and guitar leave Paper Bird's fans dancing into the night. (CP Photo/Bill Drumm)
Picture this: three young harmonizing female singers and a back-up band, all with smiles to boot.
The three singers of Paper Bird - Sarah Anderson, 21, Genevieve Patterson, 19, and Esme Patterson, 21 -- are the soul of the local Boulder folk/bluegrass band. They provide not only the melody, but their voices often unify to create one strong sound. They harmonize and sing in canon to whatever song they choose, performing originals and creative cover tunes.

"We do a lot of harmony," Patterson said. "Some people have said we sound like the 1940s band The Andrews Sisters, so that is pretty cool."

Tyler Archuletta plays trombone and Caleb Summeril plays banjo and harmonica. Paul DeHaven on guitar rounds out the rest of the band. The instruments give the band a bluegrass sound.

All six band members live together, so they all contribute to a harmonic and wildly creative songwriting process, Patterson said.

Patterson said they are a group of good friends who love music and each other.

"We just love having fun and being silly," Patterson said.

The music is more than any one genre and the band prefers it that way. While others associate the group with modern folk and bluegrass music, Paper Bird is simply original, DeHaven said.

"We get inspiration from each other and our friends," DeHaven said. "Our friends Laura Goldhammer and Ian Cook are amazing musicians."

Paper Bird officially began in August 2006 as the group White Tiger. Patterson said the name White Tiger was a joke and a reflection of their stellar sense of humor.

"We first got together at Caleb's uncle's cabin in Breckenridge, where we all started playing music," Patterson said, "All the sudden we had four songs and we played them on a street corner that night."

Within a month, Patterson said the group of musicians had seven demo songs ready to roll.

In May 2007, Paper Bird recorded their first album entitled, "Anything Nameless and Joymaking."

"If you were to listen to one song off of our album, listen to 'Sacrifice,'" Patterson said.

The six members recently moved to Boulder, where they are excited to play at Cafe Babu on Oct. 26 and at Old Main on Nov. 3.

With a 15-song album under their belt, the band has hopes of more touring, recording and adventure, Archuletta said.

"The best part of the band is just playing music together," Archuletta said.

Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Emily Sturges at

"Highlights from The Urban Citizens Project show"

"The big surprise of the night came from barefoot six-piece folk group Paper Bird, sporting brass, a banjo, guitar, and three ladies singing in angelic close harmony, like something out of oldschool folk or bluegrass, with gospel tinges. They're hands-down the best live act -- from Denver or from anywhere -- that I've seen in some time. "
-Contributed by: John Zwick, on 12/3/2007 - @ Denver Post

"Paper Bird...Oh Man!"

"Imagine three of the most attractive girls you've ever seen singing impeccably executed and extraordinarily complex harmonies, with two cute as crap boys playing trombone and guitar...and that's Paper Bird. They were even missing their virtuoustic banjo they were great."


Anything Nameless and Joymaking (2007)
A Sky Underground (2009)
Paper Bird Live at Twist and Shout (2009)
When the River Took Flight (2010)



Paper Bird’s backbone is their songwriting, musicianship and a general allergy to all limitations and trends. With seven members and no leader, possibilities are ever unfolding, with fluctuations in style and mood akin to weather patterns.

When asked what genre of music they play, they answer “joyful.” The seven-piece band consists of three female singers, accompanied by banjo, guitar, stand-up bass and trombone. Young in age but timeless in spirit, Paper Bird continually captures the hearts of new listeners and long-time fans. Their rare and beautiful approach to music led them to be featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and they were voted in the Top 10 Best Underground Bands by Denver Post three years in a row, as well as 5280’s Top of the Town 2009 “Top Local Band”. In the last year they have played Red Rocks Amphitheater to an audience of over 8000 people and have shared the stage with Devotchka, Judy Collins, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Glen Campbell, and Big Head Todd & the Monsters. Their haunting and authentic sound is a refreshing and breathtaking blend of folk, jazz, bluegrass and rhythm and blues.

The members of the band- Sarah Anderson, vocals and trumpet; sisters Esmé and Genny Patterson, vocals; Tyler Archuletta, trombone; Paul DeHaven, guitar; Caleb Summeril, banjo; Macon Terry, upright bass – create a smooth sound that pushes the boundaries of the modern day music scene.

The band’s inception came a few years ago in Breckenridge, Colorado. They wrote a song as a cure for cabin fever, and tested playing it standing on a street corner, where they earned a few dollars and decided to form a band. Shortly after they went into the studio and recorded their first self-released album Anything Nameless and Joymaking (2007), which has been a top selling record in local retail stores since its release. Following releases include an ep: A Sky Underground (2009) and the band has just completed a second full length album to be released this July: “When the River Took Flight.” (2010).