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The Stray Birds
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“One of the top ten Folk/Americana albums of 2012.” — NPR Music

“Five stars” — John Starling,  The Seldom Scene

“The reaction here has been stunning to be quite honest with you. There are few records that the entire staff all agree on. We have staff that have been here for a long time and like more traditional sounds, and we have younger folks who like Fleet Foxes etc., but this is truly one album we all sort of looked at each other and said 'wow'.” — Jason Moberg, music director, WUMB Boston

“Clearly these are players with chops, songwriters with a fierce command of their craft.” — Kim Ruehl & Linda Fahey, NPR Music/Folk Alley

“They are brilliant performers with an easy stage presence and great audience rapport...They delivered a wonderful show and our audience loved them. I heard the comments 'phenomenal', 'brilliant', 'amazing' throughout the departing crowd...Also,they broke a 17 year record in CD sales.” — Beth Duquette, Ripton Community Coffeehouse, Ripton, VT

“Crowding around a single microphone to sing harmonies, The Stray Birds evoke an almost forgotten simplicity and joy found in voice that is stunning to drink in.” — Philadelphia City Paper

“The Stray Birds left a roomful of jaws dropped in amazement. They are superstars of new folk music."” — Paige Travis, Tennessee Shines Radio Show, WDVX

“Super-talented acoustic trio whose virtuosity doesn't get in the way of their soul. Rich vocal harmonies, tight acoustic arrangements, heart-wrenching songs.” — Fly Magazine

“Acoustic, simple, marvellous writing, superlative playing, it really is astounding...If you have an ounce of interest in Americana then you really should get this album now and let The Stray Birds become your new favourite band - because they will be.” — Jeremy Searle, AmericanaUK

“The sound of the Stray Birds is the sound of America: bold, open-hearted, and resolute. Their songs and voices jump out of the speakers and simply won't be denied. This is a band on the rise, bound to span musical genres and make new fans wherever their bus and the radio takes them.” — Christian Science Monitor, Best Picks

“I like how you sing that song. You sound like you're really old.” — John McEuen, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

“'The Stray Birds' by the Stray Birds is one of the best albums I've heard in years from a band destined for global success.” — Alan Harrison, No Depression

“...innate ability to straddle genres, with roots planted deeply in each area of contemporary roots music. Without question they are one of the finest live trios on the traditional-contemporary music circuit, and definitely an artist to watch.” — Kim Ruehl, About.com

“Blisteringly impressive and emotionally charged. They've been turning heads while standing tall above others.” — John Lees, Maverick Magazine

“Each song is an opportunity to display their considerable chops, nod to their influences, and otherwise build a musical bonfire out of lead lines, fiddle riffs, and soaring harmonies. ” — Deborah Crooks, No Depression

“The Stray Birds are fantastic! The music is wonderful and they engage with the audience in a completely captivating way.” — Maggi Landau, Madison Square Park Conservancy

“The trio stays true to their roots with an old-time, honest sound, rich in tradition yet fully in the present. The well-done video for the song 'Railroad Man' reveals gorgeous voices, lovely tunes, fine playing and an uncommon depth for such a new band, while live clips show an infectious energy and joy. The three make a big impression while showing restraint and subtleness, and an understated grace.” — David Malachowski, Times Union

“The Stray Birds, a folk-grass trio from rural Pennsylvania, are gaining traction for their self-titled debut, a collection that showcases the band members' kindred dedication to traditional American folk music. Pastoral and literate, the Stray Birds sing three-part harmonies over drowsy fiddle and gentle clawhammer banjo with obvious reverence to ancient forms. Yet the Birds are young enough to have absorbed a number of folk-rock idioms...let's hear it for Maya de Vitry, a genuine talent on all fronts as a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and singer. The sky's the limit.” — Steve Leftridge, PopMatters The Best of Americana of 2012

“There's more grace and artfulness, though, in exercising restraint, as The Stray Birds do beautifully on their self-titled debut. Clearly these are players with chops, songwriters with a fierce command of their craft. But they also seem to have a grip on when to lend a hand, and when to let the songs fly on their own. This record was certainly one of the finest debuts of the year from a band to watch.” — NPR Music Top 10 Folk & Americana Albums of 2012

“This Pennsylvania trio is a wonderful combination of musicianship and songwriting that fits well into any bluegrass, folk, or Americana setting.” Bluegrass Unlimited

“I've gone back to experience their recorded songs time and after time, and the magic is even more powerful on stage. The words are full of good poetry, and the rich American melody makes the lyrics soar through time.” — Sarah Craig, Director, Caffe Lena

“The Stray Birds are my new favorite band---awesome songs, deep feeling, dynamics, playing...the works! They knocked it out of the park at a recent gig I heard. Check them out---you'll thank me later.” — Matt Glaser, Artistic Director, American Roots Music Program, Berklee College of Music

“Five stars!” — John Starling, The Seldom Scene

“They're really my favorite find for the year. I absolutely LOVE their sound. Their CD is in my car stereo all the time!” — Cheryl Prashker, President of NERFA (Northeast Regional Folk Alliance)

“The Stray Birds bring a unique maturity to their record, with a real reverence for traditional folk, and a refreshing sense of intimacy to their original songs.” — Helen Leicht, WXPN

“The Stray Birds gave a great performance. Their acoustical ability alone can carry a show, but top that off with smooth harmonies and great story telling it makes for a wonderful evening.” — Janis Blanton, President of the Bartlesville Community Concert Association

Magic Fire is an album of firsts for The Stray Birds: their first with an outside producer, their first with venerable guest musicians, and their first truly collaborative songwriting effort. More importantly, perhaps, it's an album of mosts: the most exciting and engaging music they've ever composed paired with their most outspoken and insightful lyrics yet.

Magic Fire builds on the success of The Stray Birds' 2014 Yep Roc debut, Best Medicine, which was hailed by NPR's World Caf? for its "strong harmonies and sharp songwriting" and debuted at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart. Guitar World praised their "heartfelt creativity," while the Philadelphia City Paper called the band "stunning," and Mountain Stage applauded their singular ability to "successfully draw on the rich traditions of American folk music while still sounding modern." It was that unique formula that first brought them national attention and fueled their breakout in 2012, when their self-titled/self-released debut landed amongst NPR's Top Ten Folk/Americana Albums of the Year and earned them major festival performances everywhere from MerleFest to Scotland's Celtic Connections.

When it came time to record Magic Fire, The Stray Birds knew they were ready to take an ambitious step. They retreated to Milan Hill, New York, a small town outside of Woodstock in the Hudson River Valley, and teamed up with Larry Campbell. The three-time GRAMMY Award-winning producer (best known for his work with luminaries like Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Paul Simon, and Willie Nelson) enlisted his preferred engineer, Justin Guip (another three-time GRAMMY Award-winner who worked closely with the late Helm), and the group spent ten days together joyously exploring and creating the music that would become Magic Fire.

"Though a few of the new songs had been on stage in the past year, we granted most of these songs the opportunity to come to life right there in the studio," says Maya de Vitry, who splits her time between fiddle, guitar, and banjo in addition to singing. "It was intoxicating to go to this place of focus with songs that still felt so fresh and free."

"We'd never worked with anyone other than just an engineer in the studio before," adds Charles Muench, who plays banjo and bass in addition to contributing to the group's lush three-part vocal harmonies. "Larry was on our short list of people who we wanted to work with, and it was clear after a few conversations with him that nothing was off limits for this record. He offered up not only his production and direction, but also his playing to any and all of the music."

"We wanted some direction this time," continues Oliver Craven, who plays fiddle, guitar, and mandolin in addition to singing. "We wanted somebody outside of the music with great taste and vibe who could lend a critically unbiased and impartial ear to what we were doing. Larry is very relaxed and works on feel. I don't think I saw him write down one word the whole time."

Before the band settled into the studio, they headed back to their roots, returning to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There they spent two intensive days of pre-production with another new collaborator, drummer Shane Leonard.

"We started out as a trio of people who all grew up together in Lancaster County and had known each other for a very long time," says de Vitry. "But it was a slow and deliberate musical courtship, and it took years and a lot of patience for us to actually come together and get into a car and start touring and recording as a trio. When we met Shane, I can't even say that we played music together for more than a song or two before we asked him to join us to make a record. We all instinctually knew he was right for us."

That kind of chemistry can't be bought, and it's readily apparent on tracks like "Third Day In A Row," a laid-back slice of infectious Americana that showcases the band's rich harmonies, and "Fossil," which they performed at Leonard's wedding before they'd ever even recorded it. In addition to the newest Bird's contributions (which stretch beyond percussion throughout the record), the album demonstrates the group's remarkable growth as songwriters and performers, with countless nights on the road across the US and Europe sharpening their senses and honing their keen understanding of each other's strengths.

"There's more collaboration than ever before in the band," says Craven. "This record is unlike any of our previous releases in that it has songs written by the two or three or four of us together. I think we've realized that in this band, we're surrounded by people we trust and who inspire us, so if we want something to be as good as it can be, it's in all of our interests to share in that collaboration."

The fruits of their teamwork come to full blossom on highlights like the toe-tapping, fiddle-led "Sabrina," penned on-the-spot, as a trio in the presence of the titular subject, and "Hands Of Man," a dark, Appalachian-influenced tune completed during the recording sessions in Milan Hill. "Where You Come From" marks Muench's first complete songwriting contribution to an album, while "Shining In The Distance" is a collaboration with fellow songwriter Lindsay Lou that grew out of Maya and Oliver's move to Nashville, and "When I Die" features a verse written by Leonard (live versions of the song have included a variety of additional verses contributed by peers and tourmates like Mandolin Orange, Miss Tess, Jordie Lane, and Cahalen Morrison & Eli West).

Despite the new, more open approach to writing, the songs are as focused and incisive as ever. "All The News" is a reminder of just how lucky so many of us are to live in relative comfort and safety, while the groovy "Sunday Morning" is a call to action, as Craven sings, "You can shout for change and worry about the state of the world / But it's gonna take a little more than praying on a Sunday morning."

"I don't think that this record is overtly politicized," says Craven, "but there is an agreed perspective within the band, and I think that turns up throughout the album. It's not only our opportunity but our obligation to do what we can to help the people around us as best we can."

"This collection of songs honors what connects us as humans," Maya adds. "Being human can be a fast-paced, detached experience at times. I feel like part of what we do as musicians is rewire our connections to each other, and perhaps our connections to our collective memory or dream."

For The Stray Birds, those connections come from filling hearts with love and joy and light each night onstage, setting a Magic Fire and watching it spread everywhere they go. The most exciting thing about an album of firsts? It means The Stray Birds are just getting started.

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If you are interested in booking the band for a concert, festival or private event, please contact:

John Laird, The Americana Agency

john@americanaagency.com

919-489-4824