Bradley Skaught’s Bye Bye Blackbirds combine the west coast, late-1960s sound (e.g. Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, etc.) with some of Tom Petty’s southern rock and roll heft to produce a solid album of killer tunes on their new Take Out the Poison. The latest record departs from the more slick, high production sound of previous releases like 2013’s We Need the Rain and 2011’s Fixed Hearts (both great albums, BTW) for a more laid back, rootsy feel. “Earl Grey Kisses” sets the tone, opening things in a spare fashion with some great bass and a bit of guitar lead line, building to some nice harmony-drenched hooks in the chorus. Vocals are really to the fore on a lot of the songs on this release. Check out “Duet,” a lovely single with Lindsay Paige Garfield sharing vocals (and adding a nice country element) on some clever musical wordplay or the super harmony vocals on the Tom Petty-ish “Baby We’re Fine.” Speaking of Tom Petty, the previously released “Let Your Hair Fall Down” appears here and it oozes a great Petty vibe. Other influences could be noted – the Elvis Costello-y “Wasted” or hauntingly Big Star/Elliott Smith-like acoustic guitar and vocals on “I Meant to Write” – but the songs really stand on their own as compositions. A surprising highlight of the record is the band’s cover of Bill Monroe’s country and western classic, “Poison Love,” delivered here with a rootsy rock and roll verve worthy of Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds or Elvis Costello in a more Memphis mood.
Baby We’re FinePoison Love
The new record officially drops August 25 but you can preview new tracks on Bandcamp here.