Sweetbird's songs fill your heart with love and hope for humanity. How many artists can make you feel like that?"
- Bruce Lomet (Chinaski)
Sweetbird doesn't know the answer to Bruce's question, but they are humbled by his comment about their music. To evoke such a response from a new listener is a blessing. When Connecticut-based singer/songwriter Christine Yandell and guitarist/composer Steve Waite met back in 2001, they had little idea they would be on the path they are on today. After several impromptu sessions, it was obvious there was a strong and unexplainable connection between the two musicians - a connection that is often referred to as "It." When Christine and Steve played music together, "It" was there.
Sweetbird Is Born
Inspired by their musical connection, the duo set out to record a collection of songs each had written and settled upon the name "Sweetbird," partly in recognition of the enormous influence Joni Mitchell has had on both musicians (the song "Sweet Bird" appears on Mitchell's The Hissing of Summer Lawns). In 2003, Christine and Steve released their first record, Free Spirit Reflection (Broadband Records), which was produced by Grammy-nominated composer Paul Avgerinos. Free Spirit Reflection attracted the attention of music fans and industry professionals alike. After Christine and Steve finished recording the song "I Am Love," Avgerinos remarked they had "a smash hit record" on their hands. We are still patiently waiting, Paul! :)
The Voice Of An Angel
Encouraged by the positive feedback from their first record, Sweetbird went back into the studio in 2004 with Avgerinos to begin working on their second release. The fruit of their effort was Soul Fire (Broadband Records) - a record that featured a talented horn section led by veteran trumpeter Don Harris (who has worked with the likes of James Taylor, Celine Dion, and Stevie Wonder) and some inspired original lyrical compositions, including "A Time to Heal," "October's Child," as well as a cover of Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Still, You Turn Me On." National music promoter Dr. Eugene Foley summed up Soul Fire this way: "Beautiful songs, intelligent lyrics and the voice of an angel."
With two records under their belts, Sweetbird began performing more frequently at various venues around New England. Their music has been featured on commercial and Internet radio stations around the world. In 2006, the group was invited to appear on Poughkeepsie Live, a popular, award-winning music show. Christine and Steve have also contributed their musical talent to several ambient recordings by Paul Avgerinos, including Phos Hilaron (Round Sky Music) and the chart-topping album, GNOSIS (Round Sky Music). Christine's angelic vocalizations are also featured on Paul's latest release, Garden of Delight (RealMusic).
The Journey Continues
"I gave you wings, why are you hiding them under your sleeves? Please give them a try, you can be more than you'd ever believe." And with the opening chorus from the "The Call," track one of Sweetbird's latest record, Shine (Broadband Records), Christine and Steve continue their journey together. Released in Spring 2007, the group's third record features 10 original, inspirational compositions as well as a cover of "Love Song" from Elton John's album Tumbleweed Connection . Shine may seem like a departure to those familiar with Sweetbird's previous releases. However, there were hints on those recordings indicating the direction in which the group's music was headed. The songs on Shine are a reflection of the powerful transformation that has been ongoing over the past six years in the hearts of Christine and Steve - a transformation that continues today.
How this transformation manifests itself in Sweetbird's music in the future is unknown. However, if Sweetbird's songs continue to fill hearts with love and hope for humanity, as Mr. Lomet observed back in 2003, the group will have considered their journey together a wonderful blessing and a success.