Lazybirds is a classic American roots band from the mountains of North Carolina. Specializing in good time music that is just about impossible not to move to, there is also a depth to the band that faithful fans have treasured over the years. According to the legendary Doc Watson, “Lazybirds play a good variety of blues, jazz, and that good old ragtime sound, and you will hear the flavor of that in anything they play.” The ‘Birds cover a lot of musical ground, from early American stringband music to Dylan classics, as well as classic sounding originals, but deep roots are what hold all of these sounds together.
The Lazybirds most recent CD release (2010), “Broken Wing,” pays homage to founding member Andy Christopher, who played tenor banjo and tenor guitar, and sang with the band until being stricken suddenly with a mysterious heart condition. The title track, a Lazybirds original, describes how the band misses their soul brother; “It seems wrong you’re not here on my right,” “There’s a hole where there should be your banjo.” Andy was with the band for part of the recording before he took sick, and you can hear his distinctive banjo picking particularly on “Life,” a Lazybirds rendition of the Sly and the Family Stone classic that will surprise most listeners other than long time fans, who expect the occasional knuckle-ball from this band. In essence the CD is life-affirming, moving through the blues, swing and deep country with humor and heart. “Broken Wing” has received sparkling reviews across the American southeast and in Europe.
Lately the band has been incorporating more original music into the mix. Some of these will certainly find their way onto the next Lazybirds recording, but you’ll have to check the credits to know which songs are Lazybirds originals and which are old classics, as the band has been steeping in the American roots melting pot for so long that it flavors anything they do. The band began nearly twenty years ago, when Jay Brown and James T Browne, who had played acoustic blues and folk together in high-school, moved up to Boone NC where they immediately met Mitch Johnston. Eventually Mitch became the hard driving bass man who perfectly complimented James’ jazz drumming and Jay’s finger style blues-swing guitar and jazzy harmonica. Shortly afterward they met Andy, who’s rhythmic style opened up more doors for the band. A few years later they were joined by German born fiddler and blues guitarist Alfred Michels who, evidence clearly suggests, is from 100 years ago.
Together they have played top festivals across the southeast, including Merlefest, Bristol Rhythm and Roots, LEAF, Birmingham City Stages, Music on the Mountaintop, and Bele Chere. They have shared the stage with their friends The Old Crow Medicine Show and Doc Watson. They’ve been a longstanding favorite in some of the best bars from Birmingham to Boone. Lazybirds is an American classic worth getting to know.
Show Details at a Glance:
Friday, September 23, 2011
77 Biltmore Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801