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The Ragbirds are a 5-piece, female-led, folk-rock-world fusion band out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. They describe their music as "infectious global groove". The musical roots of The Ragbirds sound are complex - with Gypsy, Middle-Eastern, Americana, rock, and Latin influences, all stirred with a Celtic fiddler’s bow. In live performances the band incorporates variations on traditional African drum pieces, each member trading their instrument for a hand drum. The songs carry a positive message and include both pop hooks and improvised solos. It is music that fits stages of many sizes and styles - from the "listening rooms" that folk audiences flock to - to jam-band music festivals - to bars and clubs with a hyped-up dance floor.
The Ragbirds make use of numerous traditional folk instruments, blending them with modern sounds to create an infectious world groove rooted in the traditions of many cultures and eras. The group has released three full-length studio albums, a live record and one single - all self-produced and independently released.
The Ragbirds began in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 2005 and moved to neighboring Ann Arbor in 2007. Vocalist and instrumentalist Erin Zindle and drummer Randall Moore began recording Zindle's original songs before they had a band to perform them live and those recordings became The Ragbirds' debut album, "Yes Nearby", which was released in the summer of 2005. The original members included bassist Jeff Stinson, guitarist and vocalist Adam Labeaux, and percussionist Greg White. White only stayed with the group for six months and was then replaced by Tim Dziekan, who had been a student of Moore's.
In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina the group decided to record one of their popular songs often played live, "Washed Away" (formerly titled "Mangrove"). This recording was released as a single and a portion of the proceeds were donated to the Red Cross. In 2006 The Ragbirds released a live album called Catching Fire, recorded in January at their hometown bar and the place they got their start - T.C.'s Speakeasy in Ypsilanti, Michigan. That album and the single are both currently discontinued.
In April 2006 the sadness of the death of a good friend of the band and "merch girl" Lisa Radtke was followed by the happiness of Moore's marriage proposal to Zindle, and they were married on September 22, 2006.
The Ragbirds' second full-length studio album, Wanderlove was released in June 2007. It included several songs which previously appeared on Catching Fire. Wanderlove has a world-travel theme with a pop appeal and was the number one selling album on Homegrown Music Network by the Fall of 2008.
- Erin Zindle - vocals, violin, mandolin, banjo, accordion, percussion
- T.J. Zindle - guitar, vocals
- Randall (The Hitman) Moore - congas, djembe, percussion
- Jon Brown - Drum set, vocals
- Dan Jones - Electric bass guitar, percussion
Throughout 2006, the Ragbirds toured extensively in Michigan and Ohio as well as New York and other Midwestern states. In 2007 the Ragbirds began to tour nationally reaching as far West as Colorado and as far South as Florida.
By 2009, The Ragbirds have traveled throughout the country, and even venturing out on their first International tour. Signed to Buffalo Records in Japan in February, 2009, The Ragbirds Wanderlove CD was distributed to Tower Records stores throughout Japan. The band flew to Japan to perform at the Green Room Festival in Yokohama and at Tower Records Shibuya, Tokyo store, as well as an additional gig at Stove's in Yokohama.
In 2009, The Ragbirds worked with producer Tim Carbone (of Railroad Earth) to record their third studio album, Finally Almost Ready. Mixed and mastered by Grammy-Award-winning producer and engineer Phil Nicolo, the album was self-released in the US and released in Japan by Buffalo Records in August 2009.
Traveling in a van that runs on Recycled Vegetable Oil in order to promote sustainability, The Ragbirds have performed to enthusiastic audiences in over 46 U.S. states including major markets such as New York City, Nashville, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Indianapolis and many more. They have been featured at some of the Mid-West’s largest music festivals including Rothbury Music Festival and 10,000 Lakes and have shared the stage with Railroad Earth, Steve Kimock, Cornmeal, Toubab Krewe, Hot Buttered Rum, Donna The Buffalo, Big Leg Emma, Jeff Daniels, Tea Leaf Green, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Mamadou Diabate, The Duhks, Wookiefoot, ekoostik hookah, and many more.
In March 2015, the band spent two full weeks at Big Sky Recording in Ann Arbor, Michigan working on their fifth studio album with producer Jamie Candiloro (Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, R.E.M., Willie Nelson) and sound engineer Geoff Michael. The project is being funded via a PledgeMusic online campaign. A Fall 2015 release is anticipated; an exact release date is TBA.