The Winebirds Fly High at The Woods
Written by Liz Livengood
Portland’s Winebirds can be likened to Fleetwood Mac, if they had grown up watching a lot of The Partridge Family. That’s what my camera guy, Alex, said about them as we were leaving their show at The Woods Saturday night. It wasn’t an insult- he liked them a lot. It’s just that the Winebirds’s mixture of male and female vocals, songs about relationships and jangly tambourines do call that association to mind. The Winebirds probably wouldn’t mind. They listen to a lot of older music. They work to blend their voices into perfect harmonies. And Rose, well, Rose plays a mean tambourine.
In their set at The Woods, The Winebirds played all new songs. They’ve been working hard on a new album these days. The show was a lot of fun. While the songs are largely upbeat, they touch on serious topics, which add a nice layer of depth to their sound. Watch below for a beautiful song, where Rose’s cries of ‘leave me alone’ are punctuated by powerful percussion and sublime backing vocals.
It was a small audience at The Woods, which was both a shame (because it was a great show) and a blessing (because it was intimate). The Winebirds have been playing in this configuration for about three years, and with the work on their upcoming second album, it seems that they have found a synchronicity. Their sound is solid and unified, but there’s a looseness and a comfort there only achieved by long hours of practice and collaboration.
I loved how the Winebirds switched instruments and vocalists. It shows that they are mindful of everyone’s strengths and willing to give up the spotlight in the interest of making great songs. In this next video, Lauren gives up her usual seat at the keyboard to sing the lead. Her voice is a distinctly different timbre than Rose’s, and I savored that variety. Rose’s voice is like a bright, slightly tangy chardonnay; Lauren’s is like a rich, deep cabernet. (That’s about as much as I know about wine).
The Winebirds made a fan of me Saturday night. Their sunshiney pop drew me in, and their solid body of talent kept me listening. Their current album, Séance Hill, is fabulous. I haven’t stopped listening to it. To hear it, and buy it, go here. I’m not sure where or when they’ll be playing next but I hope it’s soon. Meanwhile, I’ll wait patiently for their next album, which sounds like it’s going to be epic.