Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds is an eight-piece powerhouse that puts a modern spin on classic soul. The band is led by Arleigh Kincheloe (Sister Sparrow), whose astoundingly powerful voice and sly demeanor make for a spellbinding presence onstage. She is backed by the mighty force of The Dirty Birds, a flock of seven men who masterfully lay down thundering grooves and soaring melodies. While each of the Birds are capable of lighting up the stage with jaw-dropping displays of musicianship, it’s clear they’re focused on delivering the band’s infectious music as a single entity. Simply put, the band’s live show is explosive.
2012 was a breakout year for the eight piece soul/rock outfit Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds. The band closed out the year with two nights of opening for Gov’t Mule, which included a night at the famed Beacon Theatre in New York. They played more than 150 shows in 35 states for the second year in a row, and their high-energy show is in high demand after scorching sets at festivals as Bonnaroo, Mountain Jam’s main stage, the Voodoo Experience, and the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, where they opened for The Avett Brothers.
The year included a number of accolades for the band – selling out the Independent in San Francisco with Rebirth Brass Band, opening for Fitz and the Tantrums, Counting Crows, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and a three week run with Allen Stone that culminated in an Austin City Limits late night set. In February, they played a Midnight Ramble at Levon Helm’s studios, where they shared the stage with Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule) and Donald Fagen (Steely Dan).
The band’s journey is steeped in family and life-long friendships. Dynamic singer and front-woman Sister Sparrow first began penning tunes in the alleyways and back roads between New York City and the Catskill Mountains as a teenager. Though already aided and abetted by her harmonica-shredding brother Jackson, it was clear to her that a large, powerful band was needed to do justice to the songs she was crafting. The brother and sister team called upon their cousin Bram, a California-bred drummer of considerable prowess, to help them assemble a super-band of epic proportions. Bram brought in childhood friends J.J. Byars (alto saxophone) and Ryan Snow (trombone), and Ryan called upon baritone saxophonist and close friend Johnny Butler. The trumpet chair changed hands until March 2011, when the addition of trumpeter Phil Rodriguez solidified the unstoppable force of the virtuosic Dirty Birds’ horns. The rhythm section was filled out by guitarist Sasha Brown and bassist Aidan Carroll, a thundering tandem that proved to be the perfect engineers of the hard-driving, bare-knuckle grooves that propel this ferocious group.
The band first got together in September 2008. It was evident from the start that the deep connections among its members translated directly to the music they made together. While Sister Sparrow is the principal songwriter and unifying voice of the band, the entire band has always worked collaboratively on arrangements. The result is musical creativity and diversity seldom seen in groups of this size and character.
By the middle of 2009, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds were packing New York’s Rockwood Music Hall every Saturday night, holding down a five-month-long residency that built them a reputation for being one of the funkiest, tightest groups in the city. With the strength of their live show in mind, the band recorded its debut album (released in November 2010) at a single twelve hour session at New York’s famed Avatar Studios.
When the band embarked on their first tour at the end of April 2011, they set out with the mission of taking the country by storm. By the end of the year, they had driven over 50,000 miles to play 150 shows in 28 states. They exploded onto the scene, opening for Dr. John, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and the Soul Rebels Brass Band, and appeared at such festivals as Gathering of the Vibes, Bear Creek, and late night at Jazz Fest in New Orleans.
The band is building a following the old-fashioned way – and the demand for their infectious music has kept them on a relentless tour schedule across the country. Fueled by the band’s boundless energy, every show turns into a wild dance party, and the Dirty Birds are establishing a rabid following of fans eager to receive a potent dose of good times, delivered by the band night after night.
Sister Sparrow’s commanding stage presence alone is more than enough to dazzle audiences, but the magic doesn’t end with her: the band’s palpable camaraderie, undeniable talent and passion for music makes for a contagious combination that is taking the country by storm. Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds’ blend of seductive soul and dirty blues-rock reminds audiences why they love live music.
Arleigh Kincheloe – vocals
Jackson Kincheloe – harmonica
Bram Kincheloe – drums
Sasha Brown – guitar
Josh Myers – bass
Phil Rodriguez – trumpet
Ryan Snow – trombone
Brian Graham – baritone sax