Currently vibe-ing to their music on Spotify as I’m writing this article right now and replaying the videos I took during their performance at Belly Up – Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds have truly left me wanting more! This band definitely knows how to get the party started and get people hyped. Their music has so much soul and energy, you can’t help but dance and clap along.
The band contains seven members total, including a brother-sister duo,Arleigh Kincheloe and Jackson Kincheloe, singing and jamming out on the tambourine and harmonica. Then they have other amazing musicians rocking out with Brian Graham on saxophone, Josh Myers on bass, Phil Graham on the trumpet, and Dan Boyden on the drums! Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds remind me a lot of the band No Doubt, with a strong female lead and effortless fusion of soul, funk, blues, rock and country. From watching YouTube videos of this band performing to seeing them perform live is just amazing!
The crowd went wild during their rendition of “Rosanna” by Toto, with Sister Sparrow’s insane vocals and her brother jamming on the harmonica. I was upstairs trying to multi-task; dancing and taking pictures at the same time was quite difficult! The effortlessness of their music to move the people around them including me is definitely part of their charm!
After taking some photos, I wanted to join the crowd downstairs to dance, and they started playing “Mama Knows”: the perfect song to sway and dance to! It’s such an endearing song because it’s a commemoration to our moms. A lot of the audience were mothers themselves, so they definitely connected to the music and were made to feel special.
The show was just about to end, and they could not have ended it with a better song. As soon as the guitars and bass started playing the intro to the verse, the audience was ecstatic! The last song was “Gold” off their new album Gold. "Gold" is a feel-good song like much of the songs from Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds---their music lifts you up. When that song played, I felt so much love in the room as people sang along and were smiling.
If you haven’t listened to this band yet and need a good pick-me-up, go search Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds right now on Spotify and YouTube! When I first watched them perform at NPR’s Tiny Table, I fell in love with just the energy and happiness they exuded. Their music is particularly special because of the soul and significance embedded in each song.
I had such a pleasure of interviewing Arleigh Kincheloe, AKA Sister Sparrow, and this is what went down:
Q: What has been your favorite show to perform in and why?
A: That’s a tough one- we’ve done so many shows! We recently got to do a show at Levon Helm’s Bar in Woodstock, New York. So he was the drummer of the band and he’s a big idol of mine. He passed away a few years ago but we got to play at his bar and his studio, which is kind of a treat and it’s my hometown I’m from/near there so our parents came out and it was really fun.
Q: What has been the inspiration for making your album Gold ?
A: Well it was kind of a combination of getting pregnant and having a baby and I had always wanted to do a little bit more of a solo project. I kind of worked really closely with a producer, and it was mostly me and him working on it majority of the time, and then The Dirty Birds came in and played on it. It was just a little different creatively; it was outside my comfort zone and I think that becoming a mom gave me the courage to do it.
Q: Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds started in 2008 and has built a reputation for mixing different genres into your music. How has your music evolved throughout the years?
A: From the first record till now has definitely evolved a lot! I think the first record was like, we really tried everything! There was a reggae song, there was kind of a Latin-infused song. Back then I was very young and just wanted to try everything- because I thought, why not? I progressed and got older, and so my song writing progressed and hopefully matured a little bit. I wanted to settle in the soul, rock vibe and I think just becoming older and calming down a little bit and being able to just be more patient and say we can just do one thing and do it well.
Q: The energy and joy y’all put on stage seems so effortless! What’s your favorite thing about performing live?
A: For me it’s always been since I was little kid- just looking out and seeing people enjoying it. That’s the reason why I started loving music was seeing that it brought joy to people. Since I was a little kid at nine, singing with my parents’ band. That was the most sort-of general thing I could understand at that age like “Oh, people are smiling and dancing- this is cool!” I think that at a very rudimentary level that’s the thing I’m still chasing- just like people enjoying it and also enjoying it myself. You know, because when you’re really in a groove with a band it’s super enjoyable.
Q: How is it like being in a band and touring with your friends and family?
A: It’s amazing! And it’s hard. We’ve done it many years ---where it’s just like almost too much touring and we were never home. So we’ve come through a sort of rollercoaster of different ways to do it and now we’re doing a little bit of touring, and a lot of time off at home because basically I have a two year old now. It’s evolved a lot in that way, like when we first started we wanted to play as much as we possibly could and when we were young and we could do it. Now we’re like “Ok, we can play when we choose to play and we have home-time when we choose to do that.” So it’s nice.
Q: Who are your musical inspirations right now?
A: Right now I’m super into, and have been since like 2005, but I’m a big fan of Brandi Carlile- she’s amazing! Emily King is another one, I just think she’s so cool.
Q: What is your favorite song off Gold and why?
A: I think it’s the last song on the album which is “Your My Party” and there’s just something about it that make me happy. I listen to it and it’s like a little bit of disco, it’s a little fun. But the inspiration behind that was when I basically in the first week or two when I found out I was pregnant- I started thinking like “Ok cool, no more drinking and no more partying”. I was thinking, you’re my party now baby. So that’s where I got that song- my little baby. So I like that one LOL
Q: If you were to work with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and what kind of music would you make?
A: Oh my god- that’s a great one. I feel like I kind of have to say Aretha Franklin just because she’s one of my favorites of all time and just to even be in the same room as her would be such an amazing thing. I think it would be really cool to learn some gospel from her, because she’s the queen!
Written By: Dana Miller