Artist: The Stray Birds
Album: Best Medicine
Label: Yep Roc
Release Date: 10/21/2014
The Stray Birds, a group from the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area, are all classical trained musicians who are known for the instrumental prowess, songwriting, and beautiful three part harmonies. Maya de Vitry and Charlie Muench met in middle school orchestra, where they formed a bond that centered around music. The beginnings of a band were laid down and expanded when Oliver Craven played in a bluegrass band with Charlie while Charlie and Maya were also sharing their songs with each other at various venues around town. The three of them have since grown accustomed to each other’s voices, and now their harmonies are captivating.
Best Medicine was recorded live in the studio; all three members in the same room and singing into the same mic as they do in their shows, with very few overdubs and no guest musicians. It’s clear that they wanted the feel of playing and feeding off their energy live as they do it. The songs are mostly written by the members of the band, though two traditional songs are included. On the opening track, “Best Medicine”, Maya’s lead vocals segue into the harmonies in a way that makes you want to hit repeat as you ask yourself it really was that smooth and seamless. You can switch over to “San Antonio,” written and sung by Oliver, and it is equally smooth and yet a bit more rugged.
When you see them, you are in for a treat as they switch leads and instruments on most every song. The stage just crackles with energy and humor with their stage patter. This is a band that takes no prisoners; they know what they are doing and they do it damn well.
– Bob Gottlieb
Album score determined by Elmore editorial staff