I was lucky enough to stumble upon The Stray Birds at the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina this September (when I say lucky, I believe I was looking for a good coffee at the time). I was very impressed with their set which was a part of the Festival’s free street events. Beautiful harmonies, strong songs dripping with emotion and clearly gifted musicians.
Raised within a few miles of farmland from each other in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Maya de Vitry and Oliver Craven first shared a song in January 2010. A snowy Pennsylvania winter welcomed collaboration between the two creative flames— and inspired the collection of seven songs found on their first EP Borderland.
Two years passed and Charles Muench, who contributed upright bass to the Borderland, climbed on board as the third voice. The trio recorded a full-length album, packed a party of seven instruments into a station wagon, and set out to sing for an endless road of towns.
Their full-length debut The Stray Birds was lauded by radio stations and listeners across the USA and named as one of the Top 10 Folk/Americana Releases of 2012 by National Public Radio (NPR). Passionate live performances led to appearances on NPR’s Mountain Stage, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival and Wide Open Bluegrass.
The band maintains an ambitious touring schedule and revels in the energy of each room. Hailed by No Depression as “a band destined for global success,” The Stray Birds are slated to perform at the 2014 Celtic Connections festival in Scotland, and will follow that appearance with a month-long tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
In early October this year, the trio spent a day at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville NC and recorded five of their favorite songs, including crowd-favourites “Loretta” (by Townes Van Zandt) and “Blue Yodel #7” (Jimmie Rodgers). Echo Sessions will be available at the band’s live shows beginning November 20, with a wider release soon. This is a band to watch.