What Bird is Julia Harrison and Winston Harrison. The duo from Nashville, TN describe their music as “late-night driving music,’ as they are most influenced by the dark, kinetic, peaceful, yet unsettling feeling of a late-night drive. Musically this translates to combining acoustic and electronic elements together with a dynamic rhythmic pulse to create a mesmerizing sound.
Winston and Julia met as students at the University of Miami, where Winston studied jazz bass and Julia studied classical flute. After college, Winston toured with the Gabe Dixon Band while Julia attended graduate school at CalArts in Valencia, CA. The 30 mile drive from Los Angeles to CalArts and back every day provided a backdrop for Julia’s songwriting. Her late night drives through the winding and mountainous freeways lead the way to her collaboration with Winston, who had begun writing and recording ambient and IDM music under the name “Fuzzmuzz.” Julia and Winston found they shared a similar musical sensibility and formed What Bird.
What Bird cites as influences: Everything but the Girl, Kristin Hersh, Eric Satie, and Arvo Part.
What Bird, Good Night, Good Riddance, 2008 (Self-released, Indie) (5 of 5 stars)
Good Night, Good Riddance is immediately comparable to Frou Frou and Sarah McLachlin. Organically electric in production, the record is filled with ambient guitars, loops, and a slew of other instruments played by a handful of Nashville's A-list indie musicians and producers including Ian Fitchuk, Matt Glassmeyer, and Joe Stark to name just a few. Julia's lyrics read like journal entries rather than a rhyming game, and although she runs the risk of sounding like a novice songwriter as a result, her vocals are so authentically angelic that each song pulls you into her meditative world. The record has eleven songs, one of which is a judicious cover of "Under the Milky Way." These songs contain subtle hooks—they're addictive without being annoying. The result is an outstanding high pop record that will be well-received by the most discriminating audiences.
— Vincent Wynne, listennashville.com
Sometimes it’s hard to locate genuine breaths of fresh air, but these folks qualify. Fans of everyone from Sheryl Crow to Everything But the Girl can find something to like here, and graveyard shift commuter-poets will find their car stereos have found a new best friend in Good Night, Good Riddance. On their promise of perfect late-night driving music, What Bird delivers.
-Luke Rounda, threestarsmash.com