Sister Sparrow’s New Diversified Sound, Expanded Musical Vision, & Latest EP are Simply “Gold”
Sister Sparrow (Arleigh Kincheloe) and The Dirty Birds, brought the Gold Tour, in support of their latest LP of the same name, to the Otus Supply Room in Detroit, performing with special guests Smooth Hound Smith, on Friday, November 2, 2018.
As part of the Eyes On The Road series, where Eyes On Windsor takes a look at entertainment events a short road trip away from Windsor, we sent photographer Kevin Blondin to check out the show.
Known far and wide as the impossibly big voiced leader of acclaimed soul collective Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, singer Arleigh Kincheloe has made an astonishing leap forward with her new LP, GOLD. Produced by Carter Matschullat (Chef’Special, Secret Weapons), the album sees Sister Sparrow taking the classic brass-fueled Dirty Birds sound and turning it into something altogether new: a soul-blasted contemporary pop sound both timeless yet utterly now. Recorded mere months after Kincheloe became a new mother, songs like the evocative first single, “Ghost,” and the ebullient title track highlight Sister Sparrow’s strikingly strong vocals while also showcasing her growing muscle as an individualistic, communicative songwriter.
“It was uncharted waters for me in a lot of ways,” she says. “It’s a bit of a departure from what I’ve done before, it’s me really seeking my own personal sound. Like motherhood, making an album is a really personal thing.”
For nearly a decade, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds have been hailed for their explosive brand of modern soul, equally celebrated for their three studio albums and electrifying live performances.
The Dirty Birds have since moved to other parts of the country, leaving Kincheloe as the last Brooklynite. The physical separation from her band provided the perfect catalyst for her long-gestating desire to push Sister Sparrow’s music into new shapes and styles.
GOLD – which features backing by members of The Dirty Birds, along with Matschullat and some of NYC’s leading session players – feels a remarkably natural progression from Sister Sparrow’s previous body of work, with flavors of folk, rock, and pop now fully fused with her traditional soul approach to create what is certainly the most sensual and emotionally diverse music of her career. Songs like “Gold” and “Bad Habit” reveal a striking new freedom as a songwriter, their heart-hitting melodies more than a match for her candid lyricism and vocal prowess.
“It’s still me,” she says. “The through line is always going to be me, my voice and my writing.”
“Gold” proved “the creative seedling” for everything that followed, the ideal bridge between Sister Sparrow’s much-loved past and her committed desire to impel her sound in new directions.
“There was something about the sonic world we created that was exactly what we wanted to shoot for on the rest of the record,” she says. “That was the baseline – this is it and we want to build off it from here. It became a guide track in a way.”
Songs like “Plastic Paradise” propelled Kincheloe far out of her comfort zone, its quirky island melody far outside the singer’s regular wheelhouse. But it is “Ghost” that perhaps signifies the LP’s greatest departure and quite possibly its high-water mark. Sister Sparrow tackles the song in an altogether new way, revealing her soprano for the first time in her career. Simultaneously immediate and intimate, Kincheloe animates “Ghost” with expert phrasing and a heretofore-unheard subtlety that actually serves to amplify her astonishing vocal power.
Rich with ingenuity, confidence, and deeply felt emotion, GOLD represents both a career milestone and thrilling new beginning for Sister Sparrow. Though she has been making music for most of her life, Arleigh Kincheloe is well aware that with GOLD she has finally created something unique, universal, and altogether her own.
Music fans at the Otus Supply Room in Detroit were thrilled to be introduced to Sister Sparrow’s expanded musical vision and diversified sounds when she performed the outstanding tracks from Gold.
For more about Sister Sparrow visit https://www.sistersparrow.com
Opening for Sister Sparrow was Nashville-based Americanna duo Smooth Hound Smith.
Smooth Hound Smith is a foot stompin’ American roots duo comprised of “One-Man-Band” Zack Smith (guitars/vocals/foot drums/harmonicas) and Caitlin Doyle (vocals/percussion). Established in 2012, they record and perform a varied and unique style of folky, garage-infused rhythm & blues.
Using primal foot percussion, complex, fuzzed-out, finger-picked guitar patterns, warbled harmonicas, tasty harmonies and A LOT of tambourine, they are able to create something rugged and visceral- a modern interpretation of early blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll music that harkens back to the traditions of hazy front porch folk songs as well as raucous back-alley juke joints.
Their eponymous self titled debut album garnered attention from media outlets such as Nashville’s independent radio, WRLT Lightning 100, as well as publications like American Songwriter and RELIX Magazine. They were also selected over thousands of other bands to perform at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN. In addition, the music of Smooth Hound Smith has been featured on CMT’s Nashville, MTV’s The Real World and the Esquire Network.
Smooth Hound Smith’s second full-length album, Sweet Tennessee Honey, was released in 2016, and features appearances by Natalie Maines (Dixie Chicks), Sarah Jarosz, and Jano Rix (The Wood Brothers). They continue to tour heavily while working on new material for a third full-length album, expected to be released soon.
Smooth Hound Smith, with their smooth Country Blues harmonies, had the audience all warmed and dancing by the time Sister Sparrow hit the stage.
For more information about Smooth Hound Smith visit https://smoothhoundsmith.com
The show was presented by Otus Supply and Grand Circus Media.
Grand Circus Media is an event promoter, event producer, and show and concert booking agency based in Detroit, Michigan.
After opening in December of 2016, The Parliament Room at Otus Supply immediately sold out 11 consecutive shows, and has become the first home for Jam, Americana, Bluegrass, Funk, Folk, and Soul music in the Greater Detroit Area.
For more upcoming shows and information about The Parliament Room at Otus Supply visit http://otussupply.com/parliament-room
Photos by Kevin Blondin
Kevin Blondin is an aspiring photographer studying public relations at the St. Clair College Mediaplex. He is dedicated to promoting artists, entertainment and events in the Windsor-Detroit area. Kevin has recently launched Sound & City Photography which can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.