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To watch video of Mynabirds perform “Buffalo Flower” Click Here!
If you haven’t yet heard of The Mynabirds, chances are, you soon will. The Nebraska-based band has quickly risen to fame with the release of their sophomore album, General. This afternoon, the group also proved that even when packed into a small space, they can make a large sound. Fully equipped with six members manning the trumpet, piano, drums, bass, and pedal steel, the troop piled into the WERS studio for Live Music Week to play some tracks off of their newest album.
Talking with lead singer-songwriter, Laura Burhenn, it’s easy to forget what a powerful sound she is able to make or how popular she is about to become; the polite manner and humble excitement with which she speaks of her achievements makes talking with her feel like conversing with an old friend rather than a rising musician whose music was recently featured on the hit television drama, Grey’s Anatomy.
The Mynabirds formed in 2009 after the split of her previous group, Georgie James, but watching the members play together, it would seem that they have been working together for much longer. The precision with which their music is played is astounding to watch. After some chatter and organization of musical instruments, the band breaks into their set. The first track up is the sweet and soulful “Buffalo Flower”, followed by “Fallen Doves”, then “Muddier than the Sword” which she describes as a song about being loved.
Listening to The Mynabirds, a multitude of styles can be heard, ranging from rock to folk to soulful to pop, Laura says that the initial idea for group was “to sound like Neil Young doing Motown,” (incidentally and unbeknownst to Burhenn at the time, the one album released as a collaboration from Neil Young and Rick James is entitled The Mynah Birds) but now the genre can be tough to pinpoint. After first declaring it as rock, Burhenn replaced her answer with pop, but with an emphasis on being able to “experiment with different things.” The music produced by The Mynabird’s certainly shows this versatility and range.
When discussing this record in comparison with her previous work, Burhenn notes that “it’s very different from the first album,” emphasizing that the group’s first project, What We Gain In the Fire We Lose In the Flood, was much more personal, revolving around heartbreak and loss. This one, on the other hand, was more of a “conflict record,” an album that paid close attention to the current political debates, but with a focus on progress rather than vocalizing pure political frustration. She says,“I wanted to figure out a way to voice my political angst, but I wanted to do it in a positive way… how can we move forward as a community and as neighbors.”
Overall, Laura Burhenn and The Mynabirds are incredibly interesting, diverse, and fantastic to watch. It’s easy to see how their popularity has grown so much in the last few years and evident that it will continue to rise. Be sure to check out the band’s tour list and pick up their new album out now.