Birds of Chicago, Rachel Sumner opens

June 10, 2017 5PM
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$20 / 18

In so many ways, we are a word weary culture, ever searching for ways to communicate in fewer and fewer words, letters, syllables...Our online, blogged out, you-tubed attention spans are truncated and fragmented like never before. Birds of Chicago, the collective centered around Allison Russell and JT Nero, reassert the simple notion - radical in these times - that beautiful words and music can still tap deep veins of emotion.

real midnight's gonna come/ real midnight's' gonna come
real wolves at your door/ with blood on their tongues
now what you gonna do/ with your days left in the sun ?
ha da la ha

Stark, elemental imagery that feels like scripture, or a lost folk song recovered; the Birds draw heavily on the gospel tradition and the music feels like a new, secular gospel of sorts. For Birds of Chicago, every word counts. Every note counts. No gold-dusting, no filler. Music is the good news and Real Midnight, the band’s poignant new Joe Henry produced album, throbs with an urgency that feels quietly seismic.

Birds of Chicago was born in 2012 when Nero began writing for his vocal star-muse, Russell. Both were accomplished singer/songwriters with projects of their own, Nero with JT and the Clouds and Russell with the acclaimed Canadian roots outfit Po’ Girl, but together there was an unmistakable chemistry. Nero had found the perfect voice for his rock and roll psalms. Russell moved from being a primary songwriter to an interpreter, and her simmering restraint is deeply refreshing to a landscape scorched by post Voice/American Idol vocal gymnastics and over-emoting.

On Real Midnight, Birds of Chicago alternate moody rock swagger with the ghostliest of soundscapes. Produced by Joe Henry, a man who’s expert blending of light and shadow is well known, the album is a melancholy - but never shoe gazing - suite, full of wayward, joyful, lonesome voices raised up against the night.

Music this raw and soul-rich demands to be experienced live, and Birds of Chicago have developed a fervent following, touring 200 nights a year since their formation in late 2012.  For these Birds, singing for a room full of new people, hearts wide open, keeps off the cold and chases off the shadows. 2016 will find the band in constant motion - from sea to sea and beyond.


Rachel Sumner is an award winning singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist based in Boston.

While attending Berklee College of Music, Rachel co-founded bluegrass band Twisted Pine. Singing lead, playing guitar, and writing for Twisted Pine, Rachel has had the opportunity to perform with bluegrass luminaries such as Peter Rowan, Gibson Brothers, and has been showcased as one of Berklee College of Music's premier acoustic acts. Twisted Pine has performed on the main stages of major festivals such as Greyfox Bluegrass Festival, Celtic Connections in Scotland, Green River Festival, FreshGrass Festival, Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival, and more. 

During her study at Berklee, Rachel became an in-demand flute session player for students and professionals, premiering many new music pieces by notable composers in the area. She is a founding member of the composer collective CanvaSounds, an ensemble of composers and performers dedicated to presenting original works in collaboration with other forms of media. ​

In the summer of 2015, Rachel and Sam Moss formed Sumner & Moss, a group rooted in traditional American musics weaving close harmonies into classic bluegrass and country songs alongside their own roots-inspired originals. ​

One of Rachel's passions is studying and collecting stories and early recordings of American Roots music. The music she creates honors these traditions and reflects her eclectic musical upbringing creating a voice that listeners find both familiar and unique.


Please note that the seating chart has recently been updated, so be sure you are purchasing the seats you want.  If you do not purchase all seats at your table, other patrons may be seated with you.  Your ticket reserves you a place at the table you select but not a specific location at that table.  There is no food or beverage minimum.  All tickets are non-refundable.

$20 / 18
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