Songs and Stories #126: “Birds of Chicago”

Click here to listen to JT and Allison of “Birds of Chicago” (time = 38:20)

“Who do you sound like?” That’s a question EVERY songwriter hears over and over. JT Nero of Birds of Chicago says “People say we sound familiar, but not obviously familiar”. And he wisely and humorously adds, ” If you spend too much time describing your own sound you can sound real stupid real quick.”

birds_of_chicagoThis “Songs and Stories” field trip is a trek to Yosemite’s Strawberry Music Festival for a visit with JT Nero and Allison Russell. This powerful songwriting duo fronts “Birds of Chicago” and made their second Strawberry appearance this year. I caught up with them after a workshop on Saturday afternoon.

JT and Allison talk about how they came together musically – He had his own band, JT and The Clouds. She was touring the country with Po’ Girl. JT sat in with Po’ Girl on a tour, and they quickly became musical collaborators. In this interview, we discuss their process: In particular JT’s fondness for sometimes playful wordplay, Allison’s multi-instrumental approach, and the complete trust they have in bringing new material to their band.

The podcast includes clips of “Flying Dreams”, “Oh Calcutta”, and “Before She Goes”, off the Birds of Chicago’s debut record. You can purchase it – and I highly recommend you do – at

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