Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, whose recent album Gold was voted by NYS Music staff as the best overall album of 2018, will flock to Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock for the second time, on December 29. Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds were joined by sit-in, Warren Haynes, for their debut at the barn back in 2012. The group, led by frontwoman Arleigh Kincheloe, is based out of Brooklyn. Kincheloe, however, grew up in the Catskill Mountains and will spend her final Saturday evening of 2018 singing to a full house at the site of Helm’s former Midnight Rambles.
Levon’s venue, housed in a barn was erected in 1975; it features beautiful woodwork that gives it a homey feel and excellent acoustics. Kincheloe’s soulful voice and The Dirty Birds’ funky brass notes should reverberate off the hemlock, pine and bluestone beams and rafters deftly. Levon’s spirit, still ubiquitous in the Hudson Valley, is almost palpable at his home in Woodstock. Attendees don’t just sway to the beats together during the show, but bring potluck dishes to break bread with one another before the musical program. They reminisce about that time Levon showed up, unplanned, to play at a farm in Phoenicia or a park in Poughkeepsie.
While Sister Sparrow et al have been associated most with funk and soul in the past, the new album Gold brings a “poppier” element to the table. According to an October interview with NYS Music, Kincheloe says she wanted to “marry modern sounds, hip hop elements, soul and funk stuff that I love.” She explains her need for artistic evolution: “If we stay the same, then we’re going backwards.” The album begins with the eponymous track, an upbeat ear-catcher and closes with “You’re My Party,” a clear example of the band’s move toward pop. Fans will be eager for a live listening on December 29 to judge the new music in person.
The grounds open at 6:30, the doors open at 7:30, and the show begins at 8:00 on Saturday, December 29. More information can be found here.