Andrew Bird: Hands of Glory

Written by October 29th, 2012 at 9:54 am

Andrew Bird
Hands of Glory
(Mom + Pop Music)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This eight track, 35 minute set is more of a stop-gap companion piece to Bird’s Break it Yourself release from earlier this year.  There are two new songs, a few from the album that are rearranged in a more traditional style and some covers that are likely concert favorites. It’s bookended by the opening “Three White Horses” and closing “Beyond the Valley of the Three White Horses,” the latter an extended nine minute dreamy instrumental interpretation of the former. Bird is too much of a seasoned professional to release anything less than listenable, so although none of this is particularly compelling, it’s all well performed in a relatively stripped down, acoustic setting. The versions of the old-timey standard “Railroad Bill” and Townes Van Zandt’s oft-covered “If I Needed You” are typically classy with Bird’s low key singing and inspired fiddle playing leading the way. This is surely not the place to start your appreciation of Andrew Bird’s full gifts as a songwriter, singer or genre bending multi-instrumentalist. But for established fans, it’s a tasty EP that expands on the wonderful Break it Yourself with rootsy interpretations and material that keeps the faith, even if it doesn’t break fresh ground.

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