The Weather Below captures everything I love about seeing Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds live: Jackson’s wailing harmonica, Phil and Brian’s fiery horns, Sasha's driving and soaring guitar riffs, the tight rhythm section with Josh on bass and Dan on drums, and of course, Sister Sparrow taking her voice out for a test drive and putting it through its paces. Oh, the things this woman can do with her pipes! Whether she’s growling, purring, howling, ranting, flirting, preaching, pleading, celebrating, or testifying, prepare to be blown away!
This album will make your ears extremely happy, but it will lift your heart as well. Sister Sparrow is an old soul, and her music and lyrics capture emotions and experiences with great honesty. From the anticipation of a first kiss on Sugar, to the overwhelming feeling of pouring everything you have into a relationship in Disappear, to the fear that your best (and only?) love might be behind you in Cold-Blooded, Sister Sparrow’s songs grab you and don’t let go. Sister Sparrow is much younger than me, but somehow she knows exactly how I feel.
It’s hard to describe SSDB’s music… maybe soul rock funky blues?... but even that label doesn’t capture their unique sound. They don’t get locked into a genre, but instead go where the music leads them, and trust me, you’ll want to tag along wherever they go. Each one of these musicians is incredibly talented, but when they play together, the magic they create is somehow more than the sum of its parts. Songs like Prison Cells, Mama Knows, Don’t Be Jealous, and We Need a Love touch something deep inside and set even the most reluctant bodies to groovin’.
Nothing beats seeing SSDB live, but there are some distinct advantages to hearing these fantastic versions of their songs on The Weather Below. First, you get to hear each song mixed exactly as the band desired. (Thank you, Ryan Hadlock, for so accurately capturing everything that makes this band special!) You also get some wonderful surprises…Josh’s piano on Sugar, a completely re-imagined Every Road, and a crushing bridge on Disappear, to name just a few. But my favorite aspect of this album is the harmonies. The only thing better than hearing Sister Sparrow sing is hearing Sister Sparrow sing back up for Sister Sparrow!
I highly recommend that you buy The Weather Below right now, but be forewarned: After one listen you will probably become hopelessly addicted to SSDB, and the next thing you know, you’ll be binge listening to all of their albums and will see them live 14 times in 3 years. That’s completely possible, by the way. These road warriors are an incredibly hard working band. The Weather Below is an amazing album that proves that hard work can pay off in incredible ways.