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Hands of Glory

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iTunes Review

Issued as a companion piece to Andrew Bird's early-2012 album Break It Yourself, Hands of Glory was recorded in even more stripped-down fashion, with an intimate group of likeminded musicians surrounding a single microphone. Bird adheres to tradition here, eschewing his artsy side for sounds and vibes from the Americana canon. A spooky spaghetti-western rendition of The Handsome Family's "When That Helicopter Comes" wanders slightly from the purely rustic feel, but surprisingly jaunty covers of Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You" and Alpha Consumer's "Spirograph" capture a balanced approach to country and folk. The dexterous fingerpicking of acoustic guitars and banjos behind "Railroad Bill" sounds like a veteran bluegrass band getting down to business. "Orpheo Looks Back" from Break It Yourself is redone carefully and slowly as "Orpheo." "Beyond the Valley of the Three White Horses" features Bird's exquisite violin work on the nine-minute workout.

Customer Reviews

Andrew Bird

This guy is a magician. One of his acts is making me pee my pants every time he comes out with something new. Andrew you trickster. I love you.

Buy it.

Stop thinking about it, listening to the previews and reading reviews. "Is it really worth $7?" Yes. It's worth 4 times that. After the 10th time you listen to it, you'll want to mail Andrew $20 and a picture of yourself giving him an air five because its just so freaking good. You'll laugh, cry and sing out loud on the subway, and people will stare but they just don't know what they're missing. Why are you still reading this, go buy the album!

Simple beauty

Hands of Glory is like a mixtape of Bird's purest songs, distilled down to the simple genius of folk instruments and a savagely, delicate voice. The album is intelligently progressive but as organic as the dirt that surrounds its rootsy sound. Thank you, Andrew.


Born: July 11, 1973 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Chicago singer/songwriter/violinist Andrew Bird updates the traditions of small-group swing, German lieder, and New Orleans jazz, mixing Gypsy, folk, and rock elements into his distinctive style. Bird's projects include his group the Bowl of Fire (which also includes drummer Kevin O'Donnell, bassist Josh Hirsch, and guitarist Colin Bunn) and performing as an auxiliary member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers; in turn, the Zippers' Katharine Whalen and James Mathus appeared on the Bowl of Fire albums Thrills...
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