BY MARTA HEPLER DRAHOS email@example.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Paper Bird has taken wing since its formation six years ago.
The Denver-based indie folk band — a household name across Colorado — is starting to catch on nationally thanks to relentless touring, a segment on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and a sound that is alternately described as joyful and haunting, vintage and timeless.
Percussionist Mark Anderson said recent changes brought about by losing its trombonist, adding drums and the process of scoring a ballet for a collaboration with Ballet Nouveau Colorado have made the band better than ever, as evidenced on its fourth full-length album, “Rooms,” released in March.
“Bringing drums into Paper Bird was new,” said Anderson, one of seven band members including sister Sarah Anderson (vocals and cornet/trumpet). “It was like, this is us, this is what we sound like now. It used to be a string band, almost all acoustic instruments. But now everything’s amplified and I think it opens up a whole new palate.”
The band will bring its adapted sound — a blend of folk, roots and Americana — to The Good Work Collective at 8 p.m. Saturday. Austin, Texas-based pop-folk musician Dana Falconberry, a Michigan native with Leelanau County ties, will open.
The show is part of a 14-day 13-show tour that will take Paper Bird to the Midwest, Canada and the East Coast, a tour Anderson said would have been unthinkable a short time ago.
“Six years ago, hardly anyone from Denver was touring,” he said. “Denver, when Paper Bird started, and Denver, now — it’s amazing what a different city it is. Before, it had such a small-town feel. It wasn’t on the national map. But slowly it’s become more of an attraction and I think that has a lot to do with the music scene there now.”
Even with more music to choose from, fans continue to make Paper Bird their favorite. The band was named one of the Top 10 Best Underground Bands by the Denver Post three years in a row and was 5280 magazine’s Top Local Band in 2009.
Anderson, who moved from Toledo, Ohio, to Denver when he was 4, said band members were brought together by “friends of our friends.” Besides the Anderson siblings, they include sisters Genny and Esme Patterson (vocals), Macon Terry (upright bass), Paul DeHaven (guitar) and Caleb Summeril (banjo).
Together they’ve toured for most of the last four months, only taking on odd jobs or work as nannies and construction workers when absolutely necessary.
“We’re getting really close to not having to do that, which is awesome,” said Anderson, adding that the band recently hired its first management team. “But we’re still struggling. For now we’re continuing making the best music we can and exploring our creativity and building a career.”
Tickets for the band’s Traverse City show are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, beginning at 7 p.m. For more information, visit porterhouseproductions.com.