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Surrey, British Columbia, Canada | SELF

Surrey, British Columbia, Canada | SELF
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"Savannah Leigh of Redbird (Feature)"

Interview and photo shoot:
(page 167-188) - Flatland Magazine

"Solid Debut"


We're All Friends and Lovers Until It Falls Apart is the debut EP from Vancouver band, Redbird, a group some fortunate local music fans will remember from when the band recently performed locally at 5th Avenue Cup & Saucer in Yorkton.

Redbird is the latest musical vehicle for singer/songwriter Savannah Leigh Wellman who has fronted previous variations of her own group, but has made her greatest strides since the formation of Redbird which includes Wellman (vocals and acoustic guitar), John Sponarski (guitar), Jeremy Appleton (bass) and Ben Brown (drums).

"I've gone through so many variations of bands over the past 10-years, but am really happy with where I'm at now with Redbird," Wellman told Yorkton This Week in a May interview.

Certainly the resulting EP is a solid debut for Wellman and Redbird, a definite rock band, albeit one where lyrics and vocals are at the forefront.

"I have a pretty wide range of influences, and I think that definitely comes through in my writing," said Wellman. "I admire the word-craft of greats like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, but also really appreciate the beauty of a catchy melody and harmonies like Fleetwood Mac. I'm also a huge rock and roll fan - this summer I'll be seeing the Black Keys and Sam Roberts Band in outdoor concerts, and I couldn't be more excited! I think I take a little bit of all of those aspects and try to roll them into my own music."

Whatever the specific influences are Wellman has blended them into a great personal sound for Redbird.

There are some fine songs here, in particular In the Hands of Ghosts and West Wind, a couple of tunes as fine as any I've heard in rock in recent months.

As I have often lamented good EPs are always just a bit disappointing because you'd like more than six songs when the band is good. That is the case here, since most of the songs are above average. Oh Please My Heart being the one exception, as it gets a bit repetitious with repeated vocal, but non-word interludes.

Still there is way more positive here than not, and it is certainly easy to recommend music fans check this one out.

Check it out at

— CALVIN DANIELS - Yorkton This Week

"Redbird Takes Flight"

Vancouver-based band Redbird releases debut EP, We’re All Friends And Lovers Until It All Falls Apart.

Savannah Leigh Wellman is no stranger to Vancouver’s impressive music scene. She not only works for Music BC, a non-profit organization that promotes and supports BC’s music community, but she is also a singer-songwriter herself. Formerly the lead singer of the Savannah Leigh Band, this young music enthusiast is starting fresh with the newly formed band, Redbird.

Redbird - EP Promo from Redbird on Vimeo.

Redbird’s eclectic lineup consists of Wellman (lead vocals), John Sponarski (guitar), Jeremy Appleton (bass) and Ben Brown (drums), all of whom are good friends.

“We had basically known each other as friends in the past,” says Wellman in a phone interview. “I had been playing in my old band… and when that ran its course, I was looking for new people to play with. Through a series of events, the way these things tend to work, I was talking with these guys and we realized that we would all be really excited to play in a project together. We’re having a good time when we’re rehearsing and onstage, we’re just excited to be spending time together.”

This enthusiasm carried over into the studio where the band created an atmospheric debut EP titled, We’re All Friends And Lovers Until It All Falls Apart, which was released on June 14, 2011. A refreshing take on the indie-rock genre, the songs on this EP are inspired by the intricacy of relationships.

“Basically, a lot of the songs are focusing around the different relationships and kind of the grey areas that can come up when you are trying to define those relationships. I was just really inspired by all those different levels of emotion that could be involved in those situations,” explains Wellman.

Helping mould the band’s vision into the stunning final product was producer Shawn Cole. Well-known for his work with other local artists such as Bend Sinister and Yukon Blonde, Cole’s creative strokes were integral to the EP says Wellman.

“We did a lot of different layers of keys and guitars with different effects from amps. I think those touches from [Cole] were really important to bringing all the songs together. He definitely gave it his own touch through all his crazy creative ideas.”

And the end result is a unique six-song masterpiece filled with poetically insightful lyrics and pure and often bittersweet emotion.

With their debut EP behind them, and having completed their first tour as a band back in early June, Redbird is definitely moving in the right direction towards a promising career in music. With things going according to plan for this new band, how will Redbird measure its success in the future?

“I would consider just being able to survive by playing music, to not have to have a day job and spending our time on the road touring, playing shows together, spending time in the studio. If we were actually able to make a living, as modestly as it needed to be, then I would feel successful.”

With a talented and energized lineup that has untapped potential to spare, something tells me Redbird will be plenty successful in the future. - YouThink Magazine

"Redbird's We’re All Friends and Lovers Until It Falls Apart is a melodious affair"

By Adrian Mack, June 30, 2011

We’re All Friends and Lovers Until It Falls Apart (Independent)

Savannah Leigh Wellman has a clear, true voice and a touch for folk-pop that mingles the melancholy with the melodic. Naturally, it’s a seductive mix. It might even be the subject of “Therein Lies the Grey”, the first track on Redbird’s impressive six-song debut, with its references to a state “in between the darkness and the first of the sun’s rays”. “West Wind” floats in on the same carrier wave of sweet pop, with deep harmonies and a tasty solo from guitarist John Sponarski, but “No Game”—being slightly more angular and less accessible—emerges as the track with the greatest long-term rewards.

That said, it’s tough to argue with something as monstrously hooky as “In the Hands of Ghosts”, which splits the difference between the Pixies, Vancouver’s exasperatingly underrated Blue Violets, and Wellman’s own highly developed grasp of songcraft. “In the Hands of Ghosts” is the song that attaches itself to you like a super-aggressive brain slug, but closer “Oh Please My Heart” is barely less memorable.

Geneva Gamble and superstar in waiting Debra-Jean Creelman join Wellman on the ambling, banjo-driven track, which you might mistake for the Be Good Tanyas if it were coming through the walls. Gamble and Creelman add lustre to the enterprise for sure, but Redbird is already such a fully formed and accomplished thing that We’re All Friends and Lovers Until It Falls Apart would hardly suffer without them. - Georgia Straight

"Start Your Week Right - VIA Weekly Playlist"

SCENE AND HEARD showcases the independent music scene here in Vancouver.

With 22,376 artists, boasting 99,212 tracks, the CBC Radio 3 web site is the absolute ultimate authority, and the home, of independent music in Canada. With that massive library along with tools for members (free to join!), we’re taking advantage of what they’ve set up by bringing you a fresh batch of music every week featuring local groups who have tracks (entire albums, even!) on the R3 site.

Savannah Wellman is a local musician who works for Music BC, plays in the Savannah Leigh Band and has a new project called Redbird, who coincidentally are playing a show with Treelines, Garrett Kato and Tom Fun Orchestra at the Media Club on August 11th!

Click below to hear Sav’s playlist! - Vancouver Is Awesome


Redbird perform “Oh Please My Heart”, right here in Stanley Park. (video link) -

"Redbird EP Release w/ Debra-Jean & The Means @ The Kozmik Zoo -- 06/17/11"

After months of waiting, the debut EP from Redbird, We're all friends and lovers until it falls apart was ready to hatch. The release party was at a new venue for Vancouver, The Kozmik Zoo (formerly The Hennessey Lounge), which is a restaurant-venue, so it had the usual problems that those tend to, such as an odd and awkward layout and more-than-usual chatter, but the sound was actually really good, and that's what matters most.

First up was Diego Zaragoza, who took the stage with just an acoustic guitar and harmonica. His set started with a little bit of generic-acoustic-singer/songwriter fare, but as the set went on he showed more depth. He also had a pretty strong voice, at one point stepping away form the mic and letting loose, he could be heard at the back of the room. For the last song of the set, he brought up Savannah to help out with vocals.
To be honest, I had a little trouble really getting into the set, since his acoustic folky sound combined with the noise and chatter didn't mesh well, but he was a good opener and I wouldn't mind seeing him play again in a quieter venue.

Next up was Debra-Jean & The Means, with Debra-Jean being, of course, formerly of Mother Mother but now off on her own. The last time I saw her, as part of the Peak Performance Project last year, I was a tad underwhelmed from her set -- but I ended up really liking it this time around. The songs had a very dark and moody feel, that were definitely driven by her stellar voice, and it seems like both the songs and her voice had a much stronger range than previously, which was my only complaint then. Debra also had a great presence, completely owning the stage for her whole set; and to say nothing of her band, the Means, who provided excellent backup.
She's only got a five song EP out right now, but I'm looking forward to what is to come from the band.

And then was time for Redbird. I had seen them [more than] a few times this year, and they just keep getting better and better. The band was firing on all cylinders last night, and Savannah Leigh especially seemed to be brimming with not only confidence, but enthusiasm as well. You could tell she was thrilled to be playing, and that translated to a great set. They kicked off with the first song from the EP, "Therein Lies The Grey" and went on to play all the songs from the album, as well as a few others. Including a brand new one called "Set Me Free", which was really upbeat, and I quite liked. Another favourite of the set was "No Game" (which I've mentioned liking a few times before). They were joined by Debra-Jean on backup vocals for a couple, "Some Birds" & "Oh Please My Heart", and her voice complimented Savannah's voice -- which is equally awesome -- quite well.
They ended the main set with "In The Hands of Ghosts", but didn't even get a chance to leave the stage before the one song encore, with Savannah breaking out her new guitar, one used and signed by a certain influence of hers, Mr. Sam Roberts. (for a moment I was almost expecting a Sam Roberts cover, but it was a Redbird song, "Treasure Map")

Therein Lies The Grey, The West Wind, The Tower, Set Me Free, Some Birds, Oh Please My Heart, Roll Over Me, No Game, In The Hands of Ghosts.
(encore) Treasure Map. - 3am Revelations

"Yukon Blonde, Sun Wizard & Redbird @ the Red Room, Vancouver, May 7 2011"

I know, I know..

I am completely aware that this is the third concert review that I’ve done for Yukon Blonde, the headliner of what was, sadly, the second last West Coast Pop series show. I’m also completely aware that I’ve written several other posts about Yukon Blonde and their awesomeness; however, this review is a little different. ”Why”, you ask? Because of two very important reasons:

Yukon Blonde was finally a headliner and I got to witness it!
They played almost half of their new album that’s yet to be released, let alone mixed!

Let me back this review up a little bit, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Before Yukon Blonde took the stage, the gracious patrons of the Red Room Ultra Bar in downtown Vancouver were graced with the presence of two opening acts: Redbird and Sun Wizard. Redbird hit the stage first, and led by lead singer, songwriter and acoustic guitar player extraordinaire, Savannah Leigh Wellman, they rocked a solid half hour set that was full of boot-stompin’, sweet Tele-tone guitar solos, lovely vocal harmonies and some wholesome laughter. Lead guitarist John Sponarski played swiftly, while Jeremy (bass) and Ben (drums) pounded out the rhythm and made it look easy. This was my first time watching Redbird play and I look forward to the next show! If you missed this show and/or want to catch them again, they’re working on a new album and will surely do some local promotion (ie. shows!) soon.

Sun Wizard
After a little down-time between acts, a gangly group of long-haired ruffians took to the stage. They consisted of two left-handed guitar players (what are the odds?), a bassist and a drummer. They rocked out to a grungy, classic rock vibe with a youthful, indie rock energy. It was a great combo, kind of like Bob Dylan had an affair with Sloan, or Blue Oyster Cult made love to the Strokes and the result of either scandalous romp was the birth of this mysterious band: Sun Wizard. I’m ashamed that I had not given Sun Wizard any ear time until that day. Note to self: a purchase of their latest album, Positively 4th Avenue (Bob Dylan-inspired, much?) is a must. Give them a listen for free here: Sun Wizard on Bandcamp
Just when I was getting over how cool Redbird and Sun Wizard were, Yukon Blonde hit the stage. And to a riot of cheers, I might add. As anticipation built and the opening tune was counted in, Jeff Innes (singer, rhythm guitar) steps up to the mic and starts crooning one of my favourites, Rather Be With You. I was both delighted and excited as I’d yet to hear them play this tune live. It seems I wasn’t the only one, as the rest of the Red Room was singing to the fantastic chorus line. From there, the evening did not disappoint as they played a number of tunes from their debut, self-titled LP such as Wind Blows, Brides Song, and Babies Don’t Like Blue Anymore. That was not the highlight, however. After playing 4 or 5 songs from said LP, Jeff announced to the crowd that they had been in the studio recording a new album and told us they were going to play a few tracks from it.

John and Savannah of Redbird
More cheers, and they were off! Although I didn’t count, I’d say the boys played 5 or 6 new tunes for the lucky crowd at the Red Room, but the one that seemed to have the place buzzing afterward was a track that may or may not be called Radio. Even the Twitter feed was buzzing, with a member of a very well-known local band in the audience tweeting: “Tonight @yukonblonde played a new song that was so good I actually googled the lyrics because I thought it had to be a cover.” I’m thinking this may very well be their lead-off single, whatever the track name may or may not be.
After an hour-long set, the band took a quick encore break and came back with a song called My Girl (I think) and closed with the epic Loyal Man. Again, the Red Room was singing along to the oh-so-singable chorus. And then, as quickly as it began, the show was over. Another Yukon Blonde show in the books, and the best I had yet seen.
A fantastic night from three great bands who all put on great sets, none of which disappointed in the least. I look forward to seeing all of these bands again someday and highly recommend you all do the same.
-Dylan - More Than A Feeling


The indie rock royalty of Vancouver was out in full force for the stacked lineup at the Red Room Ultrabar. The penultimate West Coast Pop! show featured some of this cities best indie rockers, Yukon Blonde with Sun Wizard and Redbird.

Redbird was up first, and although the Canucks game had ended by the time they took the stage the room was nowhere near the level of full that they deserve. Lead by front-woman Savannah Leigh Wellman and featuring John Sponarski (Portage and Main) on lead guitar, Redbird is a warm hug on a cold day. Rounding out the lineup with Ben Brown on drums and Jeremy Appleton on bass, the band has gelled significantly since the first time I saw them. The two songs that always catch my ears and get stuck in my head are “Oh Please My Heart” and “No Game.” Hopefully these will be both on the much anticipated Redbird EP.

Second in the lineup was Sun Wizard, a band I've been meaning to check out for a while. Having already heard their recently released album, Positively 4th Avenue, I was excited to see if their live show lived up to the recording. Luckily, I was not disappointed, and a large part of the audience seemed to agree as they were bobbing their heads and tapping their toes along to the beat. Sun Wizard's brand of sun-drenched rock ’n’ roll makes me quite sure that it will become my album of the summer. Although they did little to engage the audience, I was impressed with their musicianship and will definitely be checking them out again.

Last to take the stage was Yukon Blonde. All of their touring in the past couple years has certainly paid off, as they've become a well-oiled rock machine able to keep the audience engaged throughout their entire set seemingly effortlessly. Starting off the set with three songs from their self-titled album, they had the (predominantly female) crowd singing along right off the bat, before moving into some new songs which will be appearing on their next album. Although their album was recorded live off their floor, it still does not do justice to the energy of their live show. The boys of Yukon Blonde clearly love what they are doing and love sharing their music with an appreciative audience. One notable new song is “Radio,” which had the Clash/second wave British Invasion vibe to it that I really dug. Moving back to their well known songs, “Babies Don't Like Blue Anymore” got the crowd dancing and singing along even more fervently. The set proper ended with the more mellow “Nico Canmore” off of their EP, Everything In Everyway. Although an encore seems to be an expected part of every show these days, it was not unappreciated from a band like Yukon Blonde and the boys came back on stage to thunderous applause. From glancing at the set list, I thought the first song of the encore might be a cover, but their “My Girl” is not to be confused with The Temptations' 1964 hit, though it had an equally catchy tune and is likely to be a hit in its own right. Ending the night with “Loyal Man” was an excellent idea, and I think I can safely say that Yukon Blonde gained fans and many will be adding their next album to their collection. - BeatRoute Magazine

"United Steel Workers of Montreal with Redbird and The Sumner Brothers"

...Next up was Redbird, who I was quite looking forward to seeing. It would be my first time seeing them play a full band show since August, and thus my first time seeing the current lineup in full; who meshed very well together, despite being fairly new. Since that August show, I had seen and heard some acoustic songs, so it was interesting to see those same songs with the full band feel to them. The set started off with "Oh Please My Heart", which is one of the songs I knew acoustically. When the full band kicked in on it, I knew they would make the songs stronger than they already were.
Another song that I was more used to acoustic -- and one of my favourites of the songs I had heard -- was "No Game", and I was a little surprised by how much of a rocker it ended up being. But pleasantly so, as it worked very well. Definitely made me more excited for the upcoming EP.
There were, however, some technical problems with the set -- for a couple songs, Savannah's mic seemed low, and her vocals were drowned out a little, but it wasn't a persistent issue (at least not during Redbird's set) and not terribly noticeable or anything.
I've always liked the roots rock, as well as being a sucker for strong voices like Savannah's, and so the more I see Redbird, the more I am enjoying them. I am certainly looking forward to the next time I will be able to see them live (whenever that might be)... - 3 AM Revelations


We're all friends and lovers until it falls apart EP - June 2011



We’re all friends and lovers until it falls apart is the debut EP from Vancouver band, Redbird.

Singer/Songwriter Savannah Leigh Wellman has fronted many variations of her own group, but things seemed to fall into place with the formation of Redbird. Savannah (vocals and acoustic guitar), John Sponarski (guitar), Jeremy Appleton (bass) and Ben Brown (drums), were good friends playing in numerous other projects, but when the opportunity arose to make music together, it seemed like the natural choice.

“This band and these songs emerged after some huge changes in my life took place, and I found myself needing to redefine my outlook, my music, and the relationships in my life.” Savannah explains. “The title is a tribute to the amazing group of people that helped me through those times. But in any group of people who care for each other, it can be hard to avoid the grey areas; as complicated, wonderful, and painful as that can be. I was drawn to the intricacies of the emotions that were being dealt with – it seemed more interesting than dwelling on a broken heart”.

The 6 song EP, produced by Shawn Cole (Yukon Blonde, Bend Sinister, You Say Party) moves from the driving rhythms of “No Game” and “In the Hands of Ghosts”, to more delicate, folk inspired moments in the heart wrenching honesty of “Some Birds” and “Oh Please My Heart”. The band pulls from a slew of sonic inspirations, from 70’s rock to Motown, with Savannah’s subtly soulful vocals hinting at alt-country influences. It all comes together in lush arrangements of guitars and vocal harmonies, with crashing drums and droning organs.

We’re all friends and lovers until it falls apart will be released in June 2011, supported by a tour of Western Canada.

Band Members