The Mynabirds

The Mynabirds, Live Session #80

by oz on November 4, 2010

For the right people, obstacles become opportunity and hardship becomes promise. After the breakup of her previous band, a duo called Georgie James, Laura Burhenn gathered her favorite music, books, and friends and began crafting the music that would become The Mynabirds. What We Lose In The Fire We Gained In The Flood was the end result and its one of the biggest surprises of 2010 and maybe the best debut album of the year.

Lauras voice and piano make up the trademark sound of the band, but The Mynabirds are no one (or two) trick pony. She collaborated on the album with Richard Swift who produced and played multiple instruments. She also enlisted the help of other artists to fully orchestrate her timeless arrangements. Guitar, pedal steel, piano, horns, gospel-inspired backing vocals , its all there. This could have easily been a DIY effort by a great vocalist and her piano, but The Mynabirds went all in and created some magic in the studio.

After Shirk acquired a 1920s Cable Co. full upright piano just days before, this session with The Mynabirds at Shirk Music + Sound was meant to be. Laura was the first to break in the piano at a HearYa Live Session and she also gave the Wurlitzer a spin, finishing off four songs found on The Mynabirds debut. The only song from my wishlist that’s missing is “Good Heart” with Tom Hnatow (of These United States) on pedal steel. That song with Tom backing Laura has become a favorite of mine. But hey, just one more reason to buy the album.

Mynabirds Band Intro

Exclusive: The Mynabirds – What We Gained In The Fire (Video: Vimeo | YouTube)

Exclusive: The Mynabirds – We Made A Mountain

Exclusive: The Mynabirds – Right Place

Exclusive: The Mynabirds – Ways of Looking

Download: The Mynabirds Live Session as a zip file.

Video: The Mynabirds – What We Gained In The Fire

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Our site is fixed! Back to the music. This debut from The Mynabirds is wonderful blend of country, soul, and R&B. Polished in some parts and gritty in others, the album centers around the beautiful and expressive voice of Laura Burhenn. Burhenn was part of the now-defunct indie-pop band, Georgie James. I’m not familiar enough with them to offer a meaningful comparison, but based on this piece of work, I know she is a fantastic talent.

And while the songs center around Burhenn’s lyrics and vocals, producer Richard Swift does a nice job in setting her up with the proper accompaniment. That is readily apparent on the closing track, “Good Heart,” a country ballad that features HearYa favorites Tom Hnatow of These United States on slide. It saddles up to Burhenn’s voice without overstepping its limits. Reminds me of Rocco Labriola’s work on Joe Pug’s album.

Other winners include the breakup tune, “Let The Record Go,” where Burhenn sings over a pounding piano that gives the song a real kick in the ass. And the gorgeous “We Made A Mountain” where Burhenn sings of fighting through obstacles to achieve milestones in life.

You’ll hear shades of She & Him, Carole King, and Jenny Lewis, but The Mynabirds are better.  What We Lose is the perfect album for sitting on the porch with your significant other.

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The Mynabirds – Let The Record Go

The Mynabirds – Numbers Don’t Lie

Video: The Mynabirds – Let The Record Go

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