The Wooden Birds
The Wooden Birds / Photo by aubreyedwards.com
Andrew Kenny is a native Texan who, after nearly six years in Brooklyn, NY, has returned to beautiful Austin, TX. He's best known as the singer/songwriter behind mellow indie favorites the American Analog Set. He's also performed as a guest artist with the Album Leaf, Her Space Holiday, Styrofoam, Arthur and Yu, Ola Podrida, and most recently the Broken Social Scene. His latest project is called The Wooden Birds, and it is his best effort to date. The Wooden Birds' first album is Magnolia. Fans of the AmAnSet will recognize his voice and songwriting immediately, but the arrangements on Magnolia are more vocal and percussion heavy than anything Kenny has done before. The Wooden Birds also includes Ola Podrida songwriter and David Gordon Green film score composer David Wingo, along with co-producer, Chris Michaels. Vocalist, guitarist, and AmAnSet guest artist, Leslie Sisson, and Lymbic System drummer, Michael Bell, round out the line-up. In early 2009, Andrew Kenny sat down with himself and got right to the heart of what's happening with the Wooden Birds, recording Magnolia, life, love, and the pursuit of whatever the hell it is that he's after. The Wooden Birds. How did it come about? Well it had been on my mind for a while, so some of these songs are a little bit older then others. Most are songs I’d put aside over the last few years because I thought they would all work well together. They all have a common thread. What thread is that? The songs are fairly vocal heavy and they all have a certain point of view, so I think they tell a good story together. Rhythmically they all have a certain swing to them, and the percussion, of course, ties everything together. Along with the maracas and tambourine, most of what you're hearing as the "beat" is just me pounding out the rhythm on the top of an acoustic guitar. I’d been recording demos like that for a few years and I came to like those beats a lot. How did this all start? It was the Spring of 2006, the AmAnSet had played its last show, and I was on my own in Brooklyn. It was the first time I was without a musical project since I was 20. As frustrated as I was, I began putting songs together for what would become Magnolia. I also started playing bass for David Wingo's band, Ola Podrida. He was a friend from Austin that had moved to Brooklyn that year. Bass figures heavily in the sound of Magnolia. Was Ola Podrida the beginning of that interest? I’ve always enjoyed playing bass. I even played a bit in the AmAnSet. Ola Podrida was a different deal though. I loved the record and there were already great bass lines on it. I worked with David to present his record in a way that was complete and true. For this new project, I liked how assertive and percussive a palm-muted bass sounded and I loved how much extra rhythm you could impart playing in that way. So I thought about it a little differently than I had ever before. This is the instrument that marries the rhythm section to the guitars.