Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night, August John Lutz II (of Levee Drivers)
Fri · September 18, 2015
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm
World Cafe Live Philadelphia
$12 + Fees
This event is all ages
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Inspired by Delta blues, folk music, and the string arrangements of Hollywood film scores, O, the Fool was recorded on both ends of an 800-mile move that took Kasper from Philadelphia to
Nashville. He'd already spent much of his adulthood on the road, traveling from city to city, building his fanbase one show at a time. Meanwhile, back at home, his friends were putting down
roots and starting families of their own. Kasper couldn't help but question his own choices, and it's that swirl of contrasting feelings — uncertainty, determination, and wanderlust — that fuels O, the Fool.
"It's about traveling," he says of the 13-song, self-produced album, "and then second-guessing your travels once you've arrived at your destination. It's about coming to terms with the thing that makes you think, 'Ok, maybe this isn't the right place for me, but I am here, so I should make it work. This is where life has brought me.'"
The album's title was born during a coffee shop meeting with a friend, who spilled a pack of tarot cards across the table. The first card was the Fool: a traveler with a bag slung over his shoulder,
headed toward some unknown destination. The illustration reminded Kasper of himself. Weeks later, another friend found the same card and brought it to Kasper, saying the two troubadours resembled one another. Kasper agreed. "The card embodies that feeling of wandering," he explains.
"It reminded me of the journey that music takes you on, and you can't predict where it's gonna take you."
From a songwriting perspective, O, the Fool is a simple, straightforward album. The chord progressions
are basic, influenced by the no-frills approach of blues musicians and early 20th century folksingers. The arrangements, on the other hand, are downright lush, with Kasper taking
inspiration from the epic, sweeping scores of old western movies. He engineered the string parts himself, working with multi-instrumentalist Kiley Ryan — who contributions to the album include viola, cello, and violin — to create orchestral swells. Cinematic and beautiful, the songs on O, the Fool show Kasper's capabilities not only as a songwriter and evocative vocalist, but as a producer, too.
"This is a realization album," says the songwriter, whose past travels have included opening gigs with the Wood Brothers, Amos Lee, and G Love. "It's almost like a soundtrack — a blues
album meets a western movie. When your songs are simple and direct, you can go nuts with the presentation. You can strip away the fat from your writing, but still turn the entire arrangement
into something bigger. That way, the punches hit harder."
Come to think of it, that doesn't sound so foolish after all.
it to the world.
Critics from the Village Voice to American Songwriter have admiringly found her of kindred spirit to everyone from Syd Barrett to Eudora Welty and All Music Guide exclaimed that she is one of the “most affecting altos around”.
Her timeless approach and broad spectrum of influences has allowed her to play shows with everyone from iconics like Richard Thompson to one of her most recent stints, opening a short run for the rockin’ tour de force Dr. Dog in the spring of 2012.
Through hard work, passion of craft in the writing, playing, and recording of music year after year, and the dedication to working with some of Philly’s finest, Birdie Busch has made her best effort, entitled Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night. The album gathers together what Birdie loves best--
playing in a band with other like-minded folks where melody, rhythm, dynamics, and songwriting are all getting their time to shine.
Birdie on the recording, “These guys are all my best friends and I admire them immensely for their lifelong dedication to making music and that’s really what binds us, that unspoken acknowledgment. While most of us have recorded alot together, this was the first project that allowed us to block off a week and cut it all mostly live. Everything was happening at once, the feeding off of each others energies, the guitar licks calling and responding, the eye contact, the instantaneous reactionary arrangements.”
The recording shows growth, maturity, and risk taking. It is lush, angular, and muscular. Many moments the band achieves a true rock and roll velocity, transfiguration, and a reaching in, out, and up.
How could one not love an album that has progressive rock textures, jazz textures, instrumental interludes, psychedelic influences, and a few trippy vocal effects and stereo panning fronted by Birdie? There's lots going on in these recordings and they only seem to reveal more with each listen. Songs like “Far From the Tree” and “Part of Apart” illustrate the newfound power and depth of Birdie’s observations and admissions.
“Birdie Busch and The Greatest Night shows great maturity
for the Philly songstress. The album was funded in part by her
fans through a PledgeMusic campaign. It’s fair to say that those
folks helped fuel perhaps Birdie’s most engaging album to date
and one that should open the door to a whole new world of
fandom” - Mike Vasilikos WXPN ALBUM OF THE WEEK and WXPN ARTIST OF THE MONTH.
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