Husband and wife duo JT Nero and Allison Russell have been steadily producing the fine and unique brand of Americana/folk music that they have become widely known for as Birds of Chicago. Over the last six years the duo have been steadily increasing their worldwide notoriety as they graced many a stage and released a torrent of music to their doting fans. This year has seen the release of their latest accomplishment Love in Wartime.
Love in Wartime is an elegant and charmed album that is rich with the uplifting and soothing sounds of summer. Beginning with their all to brief opening track Now Sunlight, the album opens with a gentle, fluttering track that seems to warm you to the point where you can almost feel the sun dancing on your fingertips. Soft, tender and restful; the album twists and meanders like the gentle trickle of a stream as it flits between the peaceful and the invigorating. Enriched by tender and charmed lullaby melodies their music is superb and softly experimental in its subtle 80s Americana inspirations but peppering these tunes are a selection of songs that really burst at the seams. A collection of relentlessly optimistic and enlivening songs such as Roll Away and Derecho cap off this exemplary album with lively, experimental sounds that swiftly operate alongside the swelling keyboard tunes to create an album that leaves you warm and contented.
Both Russell and Nero have truly stunning voices and have come from a healthy musical background having performed in a variety of guises prior to the birth of Birds of Chicago. Russell leads the way with her smooth, sultry and breath-taking vocal stylings that ring out to the world like bird song. Her voice is as sweet and smooth as honey and working alongside the more understated and lightly rasped vocals of Nero the result is a duo who each perfectly counterbalance the other and are able to create rich, golden harmonies that arrive like the sun through the clouds. With just the pair of them they produce a sound that a 20-person gospel choir could struggle to create.
Rich, rewarding and uplifting, Love in Wartime is a relentless experiment in love and positivity that seems as though it creates a rose tinted bubble around you as the soft keyboards and gentle clarinet tunes swirl around you. It is an honest and loving album that is filled to the brim with the same passion with which it was made.
Birds of Chicago · May 2018 Ireland & UK Tour
Featuring JT Nero & Allison Russell with Nick Chambers (drums, vocals), Chris Merrill (bass) & Deren Ney (lead guitar)
Sat 5 Kilkenny, Ireland Kilkenny Roots Festival, Cleere’s Bar & Theatre
Sun 6 Kilkenny, Ireland Kilkenny Roots Festival, Cleere’s Bar & Theatre
Mon 7 Kirton-In-Lindsey, Lincs. Town Hall
Tue 8 Sheffield The Greystones
Wed 9 Nottingham The Maze
Fri 11 Calstock, Cornwall Calstock Hall
Sat 12 Leeds Seven Arts
Sun 13 Saltaire, West Yorks. The Live Room, Caroline Social Club
Mon 14 London The Lexington
Tue 15 Milton Keynes The Stables, Stage 2
Wed 16 Baulking, Oxfordshire St Nicholas Church
Thu 17 Finchingfield, Essex St. John The Baptist Church
Fri 18 Canterbury Gulbenkian
Sun 20 Lerwick, Shetland Mareel
Review by Joe Knipe