Blue Bird have several songs just waiting to take flight.
The local band fronted by Marta Fiedler recorded their self-titled debut about two years ago. The album comes out this week, culminating in a CD release show Saturday, June 16th at the Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St.
Fiedler says some of the album’s best songs have never been played by the band before.
“We just knew they were some of the stronger songs on the record and we wanted to save them for when the record came out,” she says.
“Apple of my Eye”, “Get Your Gun” and “Waiting For the Fall” are a few of the songs that are just starting to appear on the band’s set lists, drummer Rob Mathews says.
Now Fiedler is hoping that the maiden voyage for those songs goes smoothly.
Fiedler recorded the album locally with A.J. Mogis at ARC Studios about two years ago, before Blue Bird had even formed a live line-up. Musicians like drummer Boz Hicks and Conduits’ Mike Overfield played on the album, but were not available to join the band. However, current Blue Bird guitarist Vince Giambattista played on the record.
The album carries a laidback, but layered sophisticated pop swing that lies somewhere between indie-folk and classic country.
Fiedler saved up money to pay for the recording sessions, while also cashing in a fund her father had established for Fiedler’s supposed future wedding day.
When it came time to actually release the album, Mathews and Fiedler decided self-titled would be best, “for lack of having to think of something else to call it,” Matthews says.
For Fiedler, Blue Bird is her second act. She lived in Lincoln, while earning an English degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
While Fiedler, who played violin in orchestras prior to college, once wanted to move away to study opera, she ended up staying in town because of a boy, she says.
“Of course, that worked out great,” she says with a heavy note of sarcasm.
But staying allowed her to get to know Lincoln’s music scene, where she saw bands like Her Flyaway Manner and Bright Calm Blue. She ended up taking guitar lessons while in college and began writing and recording songs in 1999.
She showed the ten songs she and her friend had recorded and ended up forming Hymn From the Hurricane with Hicks, future Blue Bird member Carrie Mardock, Pharmacy Spirits’ Jim Reilly.
However, the band wasn’t meant to last very long, Fiedler says.
“We were just young and weren’t taking it as seriously as we maybe should have,” she says.
After the band dissolved, Fiedler didn’t play music or write didn’t play music for awhile. Those doors were re-opened when Fiedler fell in love with Sam Phillips’ A Boot and a Shoe.
“That record made me want to start writing songs again,” she says.
Now, Fiedler writes songs in her Dundee townhome, using a Korg keyboard in her dining room. Fiedler then stores the songs into memory until the next band practice. The method works well, but is not entirely foolproof, she says.
“Sometimes I will work on something then completely forget what it was,” she says.
Lyrics sometimes take a little bit more work for Fiedler, depending on what’s going on in her life, she says.
It’s always been a challenge to take those dark feelings and turn them into eloquent lyrics, she says.
“It’s just too much of a mess for me,” Fiedler says.
But once those songs took shape, she was able to make her record, which then led to her forming a live band to perform her songs locally.
Matthews was connected to the band via Giambattista, who has known Mathews for more than 20 years.
“I listened to the music and that was pretty much it,” Mathews says.
While Matthews was at one time the final piece to the band’s eight-person line-up, he’s now one of the band’s longer-lived members.
Fiedler says its been a matter of connecting with people that feel like they’re family. Now the band mates sometimes end up hanging out on Fiedler’s porch for a half hour or more before practice sessions.
“We’ve had to prune and find the right people,” she says.
Blue Bird will take their new album out on the road in early July, for a ten day tour that will take them all the way out to New York. The band also plans to set aside some time at Lake Michigan while in Chicago. Fiedler is already looking forward to the lake shore relaxation.
“I just really want to have a beach day,” she says.
Blue Bird w/ Skypiper, Lonely Estates and the Big Deep play the Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St., Saturday, June 16th for Blue Bird’s CD release show. Tickets are $7 at the door.