The Wooden Birds

SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo by Aubrey Edwards

The Wooden Birds

The Parish, March 21

Turning repeatedly to his band between songs, Andrew Kenny offered soft encouragement – "That was pretty good guys" – as if surprised at the tightness of the mellow sound rolling behind him. There was little surprising about the Wooden Birds, however, as the quintet couched comfortably familiar in Kenny's gentle voice and heavy-lidded, narcotic rhythms. While the recently returned Austinite's new project recalls his American Analog Set, even to the point of delivering AAS' "Aaron and Maria," and at times shaded his recent support of Ola Podrida on songs like "Never Know," Kenny's songwriting remains mesmerizing and cut with a twisted sense of nostalgia. There is tenuous balance between the Wooden Birds' lulling pull and the songs' lyrical push of disillusion, the traps of memory stretched across opener "Sugar" and the odd skew on love of "Seven Seventeen," the band's melodic somnambulism invoking dreamscapes of reflective disappointment and possibilities. The female harmonies on "The Other One" and the somewhat heavier "Anna Paula" added an echoing depth to Kenny's languid delivery, while the low guitar chime of "Believe in Love" rippled through the room. Finishing the set with the closer from upcoming debut Magnolia, "Bad," left the imprint of its calm repeated chorus cauterized into the night's restless regrets. While the Wooden Birds revisit familiar terrain, Kenny's returns are always stunningly fraught with an uncanny recoil of memory.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

More The Wooden Birds
Free as a Bird
Free as a Bird
Andrew Kenny's rebirth in the Wooden Birds

Doug Freeman, Aug. 12, 2011

The Other One
The Other One

Doug Freeman, Aug. 12, 2011

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
The Golden Boys
Better Than Good Times (Record Review)

Tim Stegall, Nov. 24, 2017

Texas Platters
The Dan Ryan
Guidance (Record Review)

Rachel Rascoe, Nov. 24, 2017

More by Doug Freeman
Project ATX6
Project ATX6
The city’s unofficial music ambassador program turns 4 thanks to the sweat equity of founder Chris Brecht

Nov. 24, 2017

Texas Platters
David Ramirez
We're Not Going Anywhere (Record Review)

Oct. 27, 2017


The Wooden Birds, Wooden Birds, The

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)