STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Fresh off a round of seven performances at South by Southwest — the major, week-long music/film/interactive convention in Austin, Texas — Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds are headed to Philadelphia.
Since they started touring in 2011, the New York-based seven-piece soul/rock/jam band plays, on average, more than 130 shows a year throughout America, Canada and Asia — one of those was the Firefly Festival in Delaware. The sparkplug of the group, singer Arleigh Kincheloe, took a phone call while the band was traveling in their van to concert dates in the New England states. She got the name Sister Sparrow from her sister, who went by “Mama Quail,” during a road trip. Her brother, Jackson Kincheloe, is the band’s harmonica player.
“This year (at SXSW) was a little different. Usually it’s hot and sticky,” Kincheloe said of Austin’s climate in mid-to-late March. The cooler weather suited Kincheloe, who said she felt like there was more room to freely move around the city during SXSW than previous years.
Formed in 2008, the band has finished its partially-crowdfunded album, “The Weather Below.” It’s due for official release May 19, but you should get a good feel for it at the April 10 show booked at MilkBoy Philly (an ages 21+ venue) because “a lot of the songs we’ve been playing for quite awhile,” Kincheloe said. That includes the lead single, “Mama Knows,” which you can watch on the Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds YouTube channel. Kincheloe named “Sugar” and “We Need A Love” as her favorites among the 10 new tracks, the band’s third full-length album overall.
Produced by Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Vance Joy, Ra Ra Riot), “The Weather Below” is Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds’ follow-up to the 2013 EP “Fight,” which was produced by Randy Jackson, a household name thanks to “American Idol.” “He’s very much like you expect him to be — a nice guy with tremendous stories to tell about the music industry,” Kincheloe said of Jackson.
Their self-titled debut, “Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds,” stood out so much that it made the list of the top “Non-Jazz Favorites for 2010” on the Towamencin-based www.allaboutjazz.com.
“It’s feel-good music,” Kincheloe said. “We pride ourselves being consistent and doing a great show every time.”
They’re online at www.sistersparrow.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SisterSparrow and @SisterSparrowDB on Twitter. Kincheloe’s a fan of how much social media connects her and the band to the people that listen to their music.
“It’s pretty amazing in this day and age … that people are willing to help out. It’s really awesome and makes me feel lucky to have the kind of fans we have,” Kincheloe said of the people that contributed money to the making of “The Weather Below.”
IF YOU GO
What: Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds in concert.
When: 8:30 p.m. April 10.
Where: MilkBoy Philly, 1100 Chestnut St., Philadelphia.
Info.: Visit www.milkboyphilly.com or call (215) 925-MILK.