Dynamic folk-fusion band to make Delaware debut
No matter the weather, these birds of a musical feather flock together.
Giving their wings a rest, but nonetheless, folk-rock band The Ragbirds will cruise to Wilmington in their converted eco-friendly diesel van (that runs on waste vegetable oil) for their Delaware debut at the World Café Live at the Queen on Saturday, as part of the band's "Six Wheels On the Road" fall tour. The Ragbirds will share the bill with Betty and the Bullet.
Led by frontwoman Erin Zindle, the dynamic Ragbirds' new album "Travelin' Machine" offers an eclectic adventure of world grooves (such as Cajun, Celtic and African vibes) combined with pop elements.
Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., the band was formed in 2005 by Zindle and her husband and percussionist, Randall Moore. The two lovebirds will celebrate their six-year anniversary the day of the show.
Q Erin, what should we expect from The Ragbirds when you perform at The Queen?
A The Ragbirds put on a really fun, live show — it's really high-energy. It's folk-rock, but it's really dynamic and real positive.
Q What stories do you tell the audience in between playing songs?
A Our songs are inspired by music from all over the world, so sometimes I write a song with a certain style of music in mind. For example, I have a tango that I wrote after [traveling] in Argentina, so I kind of talk about that story and how I was inspired by this place. And I wrote the tango song "Brave New Beat," a new tango song, which is about being brave. I like to share a little behind the scenes about the songwriting.
Q Since your music is so unique and eclectic, how do you decide when it's time to put a lid on a song?
A That's a tricky question. It's always one of the balancing acts you have to maneuver as an artist is finding the boundaries — I think no matter what your genre is. It's about finding the boundaries of that genre, while still keeping it familiar and relevant and authentic. That's really the heart of it: not wandering too far from your true self. I love world music, and I love world cultures and I most importantly want to express my own self.
Q How have The Ragbirds' sound evolved from your previous album "Finally Almost Ready" to "Travelin' Machine"?
A I think as a band we've come together and performed so much; we play 150 to 200 shows a year. We're playing so much and the brunt of it is just kind of tightening up [our sound]. At the same time we're tightening the nuts and bolts, as musicians we're stretching a bit too, and relaxing and feeling our way around this genre that we created. I think it's more mature, better songwriting.
Q What new ideas and instruments did you bring to "Travelin' Machine"?
A There were a couple of new styles we tried for this album including a Cajun zydeco-tune on "The Bully". That was a real fun one to put together and that's become a real favorite for us. Also we did "Mercy of the Sea" and it's a Celtic, sea shanty-inspired song.
Q "Mercy of the Sea" sounds like an homage to pirates. In addition, the album art of "Travelin' Machine" has a pirate theme. Did you feel like you were on a pirate adventure when you were making the album?
A I had this vision for the album. Actually, I was on stage performing with Matisyahu and he had a huge crowd, of course, and I was nervous [laughs]. I just had a vision during that moment: it was just the way the wind was blowing like a sail and I felt like we were on this giant pirate ship and he was like the captain leading us. I had that vision for the name of the album being "Travelin' Machine" and the imagery sort of came to me right them, because I felt like usually it's me being in the lead position and I'm kind of braving the wind, and the people felt like a sea of energy.
IF YOU GO
WHAT The Ragbirds and Betty and the Bullet in concert
WHEN 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22
WHERE World Café Live at the Queen, 500 N. Market St., Wilmington
COST $12 advance; $14 day of show
INFO queentickets.worldcafelive.com or 994-1400