The Birdz Sessions is a musical collaboration between veteran musicians Richard Kneeland and Larry "Birdz" Vigneault. Based in Central New England, Richard and Larry have played in several different bands over the last 30 years including the legendary Beatles tribute band "Not The Beatles". The concept of The Birdz Sessions is to write original music and utilize the talents of some of the finest musicians in the area. The end result is their first CD "High Above Manhattan", an eclectic mix of music that encompasses many different genres including rock, jazz, fusion, and blues.
Larry started playing guitar in 1965 and has been playing ever since. He has studied with a number of prominent local musicians including the inimitable local jazz legend Steve Cancelli. He's played in a long list of bands including rock, blues, fusion, and jazz. Larry plays fluidly in a wide variety of different styles, and lists some of his biggest influences as Howard Roberts, The Beatles, Steely Dan, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page to name a few. Larry, affectionately called Birdz by his close friends, plays all the lead guitar parts heard on the High Above Manhattan album as well as rhythm guitar and the sexy synthesizer tracks on various songs. Larry and Rich have been collaborating in writing songs for about 25 years. In fact, they originally wrote the second song on the album entitled "Don't Leave Me Here" in the 1982 time period while playing in Not The Beatles.
Rich Kneeland started playing rhythm guitar in 1968 while listening to the late Kevin Falvey. Kevin, who released an album with The American Standard Band on Island Records and was a member of Joe Cocker's touring band, was a big influence on Rich. Kevin and Rich use to write lyrics for songs in the wee hours of the morning just for fun. All the lyrics for the album are based on Rich's real-life events lending a sense of realism to each song. Rich sings lead vocals on each song and plays rhythm guitar including all the acoustic guitar tracks on Naked. His lyrics are clearly influenced by the late John Lennon.
The excellent musicians that have participated on the High Above Manhattan album graciously contributed their talents and insights to help make the album a reality. Bobby (Sticks) Winston has been playing drums with Rich and Larry for decades and was also the drummer for Not The Beatles. Drummer/percussionist James Evans is also an alumnus of The American Standard Band and lends his contrasting style to several songs. The diversity of bass playing on the album is quite unique with the various styles of Rick Calcagni, John Witti (also an alumnus of The American Standard Band), Kevin O'Connell and even Larry coming together for a smooth listening experience. The sexy sax playing by Mark Weismann along with the tasty electric piano played by Morgan Scott rounds out a very select group of musicians.
Lastly, award-winning producer Michael Nickolas from Studio Nine Productions provided the final touch with his excellent mastering skills. Michael has, and continues to, work with ABC, CBS and NBC and many others. All The Birdz Sessions' musicians hope you enjoy listening to High Above Manhattan as much as they enjoyed producing it.