Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds

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Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds
OriginNew York City, New York
GenresRock, blues, soul, funk
Years active2008–present
MembersArleigh Kincheloe
Jackson Kincheloe
Josh Myers
Dan Boyden
Phil Rodriguez
Brian Graham
Past membersSasha Brown
Aidan Carroll
JJ Byars
Johnny Butler
Bram Kincheloe
Ryan Snow
Cole Kamen-Green

Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds is a Brooklyn, New York-based seven-piece soul/rock band. The band is led by singer Arleigh Kincheloe, with Jackson Kincheloe on harmonica, Josh Myers on bass, Dan Boyden on drums, Phil Rodriguez on trumpet, and Brian Graham on baritone and tenor saxophones.[1]

Since 2011, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds has played 150+ shows a year all across the US and Canada. Their list of festival appearances includes Bonnaroo, Firefly, Mountain Jam, Bear Creek, Telluride Jazz, High Sierra, Harvest Jazz Festival and late night sets at Austin City Limits and the Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans.


The band's journey is steeped in family and lifelong friendships. Dynamic singer and front-woman Sister Sparrow first began penning tunes while dancing through the alleyways and back roads between New York City and the Catskill Mountains as a teenager. Though already aided and abetted by her harmonica-shredding brother Jackson, it was clear to her that a large, powerful band was needed to do justice to the songs she was crafting. The band first got together in September 2008. It was evident from the start that the deep connections among its members translates directly to the music they make together. While Sister Sparrow is the principal songwriter and unifying voice of the band, the entire band has always worked collaboratively on arrangements. The result is a musical creativity and diversity seldom seen in groups of this size and character.

By the middle of 2009, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds had a hugely popular weekly show New York's Rockwood Music Hall every Saturday night, holding down a five-month-long residency that built them a reputation for being one of the funkiest, tightest groups in the city. With the strength of their live show in mind, the band recorded its debut album (released in November 2010) during a single twelve-hour session at New York's famed Avatar Studios.

The band embarked on its first tour at the end of April 2011. By the end of the year, they had driven over 50,000 miles to play 150 shows in 28 states. They opened for many different bands including Dr. John, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, and the Soul Rebels Brass Band.


Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds (2010)[edit]

Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds released its self-titled debut album in November 2010. It was recorded almost completely live in just one night at Avatar Studios in New York City, capturing the uniquely tight-yet-loose live sound they had honed over so many hot city nights. The album was listed as one of the top Non-Jazz Favorites for 2010 by All About Jazz.[2] Independent Media Magazine awarded it the "Best album you probably didn't hear in 2010" in its 2010 IMM Music Awards.[3]

Pound of Dirt (2012)[edit]

On February 28 they released their second album Pound of Dirt. After many thousands of miles, breakdowns, and missed shows, the band needed a new van for touring in 2012. They launched a Kickstarter campaign to purchase a new van and surpassed their $20,000 goal with $21,025 raised.[4]

Fight EP (2013)[edit]

In March 2013, the band went into the legendary Henson Recording Studios in LA and recorded an EP with Grammy-award winner and former American Idol judge Randy Jackson. The resulting four song EP was recorded in a day and half and later released in October of the same year.

The Weather Below (2015)[edit]

The third studio album by the band was released on May 18, 2015. It was recorded at Bear Creek Studio in Woodinville, Washington over three weeks in December 2014. The album is produced by Ryan Hadlock, and all songs were written by Arleigh Kincheloe.[5][6]

Fowl Play (2016)[edit]

The band's first live album was released on March 4, 2016. It was recorded at The Warehouse in Fairfield, Connecticut on December 31, 2015. The album was recorded by Lucas Tecun, mixed by Micah Davis, and mastered by Greg Calbi.[7][8][9]

Gold (2018)[edit]

Sister Sparrow released a new single, "Ghost," on August 3, 2018 in anticipation of the next album, Gold, out October 12, 2018 on Thirty Tigers. The album was produced and co-written in collaboration with Carter Matschullat (Chef'Special, Secret Weapons) at Brooklyn's DØØM Studio.[10]

Band members[edit]

Sister Sparrow, also known as Arleigh Kincheloe, is the "big-voiced" frontwoman of the Dirty Birds.[11] She was born and raised in the Catskill Mountains of New York, where she began singing in her parents' band at the age of nine. Already a seasoned stage performer by 18, Sister Sparrow began writing myriad songs of her own, which would later see the light of day though inaugural interpretations by Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds.

Jackson Kincheloe was raised in upstate New York by musician parents. Starting on trumpet and drums in grade school, moving to tuba and guitar in high school, he eventually stuck with the harmonica and joined his sister Arleigh.

Bassist Josh Myers was born outside of Boston Massachusetts and lives in Brooklyn New York. He has been a part of more than 30 projects, has appeared on more than 20 recordings, and has written countless songs. Aside from hitting North America hard with the Dirty Birds, his open ears and big earthy bass tone have sent him around the world to Europe, the Middle East, Egypt, Australia and China. He has played alongside such jazz greats as John Scofield, Kenny Werner, Ralph Alessi and Wayne Krantz. In the US, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, New York's Blue Note Jazz Club, and the Library of Congress. You can see him bringing new meaning to low end at shows with Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Heather Christian and the Arbornauts, and Kinan Azmeh’s Cityband.

Drummer Dan Boyden hails from Portland, Maine. Before joining the Dirty Birds he's been an active member of the local music scene. He's a founding member of funk/soul outfit Model Airplane and has played with numerous bands and artists including The Kenya Hall Band, Connor Garvey, Sara Hallie Richardson, Christian Cuff and many more. Dan can also be found out west in the Bay Area performing with his brother and singer-songwriter Joshua Eden.

Baritone Saxophonist Brian Graham was born in NYC, raised in Bennington, VT and studied Jazz Performance at The University of Southern Maine. In addition to working with the Dirty Birds, he is a co-leader of The Fogcutters, a 19-piece Big Band based in Portland, Maine, a member of the seven piece funk band Sly-Chi, and co-creator of Big Band Syndrome. He has shared the stage with John Popper (Blues Traveler), Chris Barron (Spin Doctors), The Soul Rebels Brass Band, and Big Sam's Funky Nation. Besides performing, Brian is an accomplished arranger and teacher.

Trumpeter Phil Rodriguez was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California, where he began studying piano at age five and trumpet at age twelve. He holds a degree in jazz studies from the University of Southern California. He is currently based in Brooklyn, where he is active as a freelance performer, composer and teacher. In addition to his work with Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, he performs regularly with jazz-rockers East West Quintet, neo-soul band The Hipstones, and punk-improv quartet The (Notorious) L.A. Music Scene. He has recorded with Hercules and Love Affair, Jessica 6, Wires Under Tension, Industrial Jazz Group, Eleanor Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces, Jenny Owen Youngs and Jinsai. Phil also leads and composes for his own ensemble, a six-piece slowcore post-jazz group called Underbelly.

In early 2013, the band announced that three original members, JJ Byars, Johnny Butler, and Aidan Carroll, were leaving to pursue other projects. The band also announced the additions of baritone saxophonist Brian Graham and bassist Josh Myers.[12] In 2014, original members Ryan Snow and Bram Kincheloe also left to pursue other projects.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Details
2010 Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds
  • Released: November 22, 2010
  • Label: Modern Vintage Recordings
2012 Pound of Dirt
  • Released: February 28, 2012
  • Label: Modern Vintage Recordings
2016 The Weather Below
2018 Gold
  • Released: October 12, 2018
  • Label: Thirty Tigers

Live album[edit]

Year Details
2016 Fowl Play
  • Released: March 4, 2016
  • Label: arty Fowl Records, Thirty Tigers

Extended Play[edit]

Year Details
2013 Fight
  • Released: October 1, 2013
  • Label: Modern Vintage Recordings


  1. ^ "About - Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds". Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  2. ^ Saleski, Mark (2010-12-21). "Non-Jazz Favorites of 2010" All About Jazz. Retrieved 2011-04-07. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-03. Retrieved 2011-04-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Singer, Aldo (2010-12-27). "Best of the Best in Music 2010 (IMM Music Awards)" Independent Media Magazine. [1]
  4. ^ Help Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds get a new van, Kickstarter
  5. ^ "Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds Set 'The Weather Below' for May 19". Direct Current. February 17, 2015. Archived from the original on April 18, 2015. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  6. ^ Kaye, Ben (March 16, 2015). "Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds premiere new single "Mama Knows"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  7. ^ Phillips, Caitlin (March 18, 2016). "Album Review: Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds "Fowl Play"". Pancakes and Whiskey. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  8. ^ "Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds". Summer's Best Music Fest. Archived from the original on March 20, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  9. ^ "Fowl Play by Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds". Bandcamp. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  10. ^ "Sister Sparrow releases "Ghost", first single from the upcoming album, Gold, out October 12th". Music News Net. August 3, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  11. ^ Harris, Rachel Lee (2011-03-03). "Weekend Miser" The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-05-02. [2]
  12. ^ "SSDB Tour Blog Episode #20: New Beginnings. And also wolves". Archived from the original on 7 February 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013.

External links[edit]