Laura Baird is one half of The Baird Sisters, and she carries that authoritative interpretation of Appalachian folk music over into her own solo music. Half of the songs on I Wish I Were A Sparrow are original Baird numbers and the other half are old folk songs, with a smattering of field recordings folded in here and there. On Ba Da Bing.
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One half of the Baird sisters, Americana picker Laura Baird is striking out on her own solo project with ‘I Wish I Were A Sparrow’, a record of floaty Appalachian guitar patterns and narratives that sound like they’re crossing through the countryside bit by bit. The traditions of her project with sister Meg are in tact, but on her debut solo record Laura Baird puts her own plainspoken spin on proceedings.
A record that mixes in original songs with traditionals (“Dreadful Wind and Rain”, “Cuckoo” and others are played with reverence that points to their status as standards), Baird also takes in influence from folk works by her great great uncle, the musician I. G. Greer. Her new tracks feel related to the traditionals that came before them, doing their best to descend respectfully as a branch in their family tree -- sandwiched between covers, “Love Song from the Earth to the Moon” feels one and the same with them.
A simple record made in honour of a family’s shared musical loves, Bairds songs sounds homey -- not only part of a lineage but part of preserving it. A lovely listen even when the bluegrass hits and you know she put way more into picking that pattern than your ears are supposing to hear.
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