Two Bird Stone (from the album Hands and Knees available on Wondermore Records) (by Brian Rock)
Two Bird Stone carves out their own niche of Celtic Folk-Grass on their debut album, Hands and Knees. Founded by band leader Liam Thomas Bailey just last year, the group plays with a tightness that usually takes several years to achieve. With banjo as an unabashed lead instrument, Two Bird Stone display their Bluegrass bona fides. The backing fiddle strains are more Celtic than Appalachian, and add a flair of international texture without being overbearing. The themes and rhythms explore traditional Folk and Country terrain. The cumulative effect is a sonically satisfying new sub-genre of Americana.
The title track sets the tone for Hands and Knees, leading off with pastoral banjo strumming as Bailey sings ‘one day I’m gonna come back home again’. The theme, that rambling and adventure are never as fulfilling as the loved ones you leave behind, is perfectly accentuated by the warm tones and lilting rhythm of the music. The use of accordion in the background also helps set the mood. As the lyrical tale unfolds, Bailey comes to realize ‘when I’m burned up from being gone, when I get tired of moving on... I hope to God that you’re still free when I surrender. By and by, I will surrender’.
Bailey’s Drew Holcomb meets John Hiatt vocal sounds friendly and familiar as he sings songs of love and home and family. On “Me and My Friends”, Two Bird Stone sing of the special connection between friends that endures even when there are miles between them. “I Already Know What’s on Your Mind” is an acknowledgement of the unspoken connection between lovers that speaks without words. “The 99” is a twist on Jesus’ parable of the shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to save the lost one. In this version, a man stricken with wanderlust asks his lover if she’d leave her family, friends and home to find him if he goes astray. “Drive It ‘til the Wheels Fall Of,” is the reward for those who sacrifice for love’s sake. Bailey and company ‘give you the keys to my heart. And you can drive it till the wheels fall off’. “Needle and Thread” is a spritely metaphor that sums up the theme of the album: those we love are the needle and thread that weave our quilt of extended family. The banjo and fiddle interplay in this song work together just like the needle and thread of the title. The band then extends the concept of family in “When Somebody Can See Your Soul”. Two Bird Stone describe the unexpected jolt of connection that we sometimes feel when we look into a stranger’s eyes for the first time. That feeling of recognition reminds us that, in the larger sense, we are all family.
Two Bird Stone venture into Folk Rock territory on “If You Wanna Come Back” and “Shoebox Money”. The former starts off slow and builds tempo and intensity as they assert ‘you gotta go away if you wanna come back’. “Shoebox Money,” finds Two Bird Stone approaching the tones of their Celtic Rock cousins, Carbon Leaf. A simple celebration of love outweighing everything else, they sing ‘you make me want to spend my shoebox money. I can’t remember what I was saving up for’. Indeed, what could be more worthy of our earnings than love?
With so many songs of love and family, and with the familiar melodies of the Appalachians and the Emerald Isle, Hands and Knees is every bit as comforting as the quilt they weave in “Needle and Thread”. And, by inventing their own sub-genre, Two Bird Stone, assures that they are the best Celtic Folk-Grass band you’ve ever heard. (by Brian Rock)
Listen and buy the music of Two Bird Stone from AMAZON
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