Birds of Chicago take CHIRP stage Tuesday

Birds of Chicago, which will be returning for CHIRP on Tuesday, June 13, at 7 p.m., is a collective based around Allison Russell and J.T. Nero.

Birds of Chicago was born in 2012 when Nero began writing for his vocal muse, Russell. Both were singer/songwriters with projects of their own — Nero with JT and the Clouds, and Russell with the Canadian roots outfit Po’ Girl, which performed for CHIRP in 2010. Nero had found the voice for his rock and roll psalms and the companion for his life. Russell moved from being a primary songwriter to an interpreter as well as mother. The couple now has a daughter, Ida Maeve, who travels with them. This concert has been most underwritten by Naomi Manners Stern.

The Birds’ most recent release, Real Midnight, has received stellar reviews from critics. Produced by Joe Henry, a man whose blending of light and shadow is well known, the album is full of wayward, joyful, lonesome voices. It contains stark, elemental imagery that feels like scripture, or a lost folk song recovered. The Birds draw heavily on the gospel tradition.

“With Echoes of deep gospel in Russell’s voice as she sings over a mix of electric guitar, resonant piano, and percussion… at once uplifting and a little melancholy,” said the Wall Street Journal.