Andrew Bird (born July 11, 1973) is an American musician. He was born in Lake Bluff, Illinois and resides in the Chicago area. Bird is a singer, a violinist and, since 2004, a guitarist. He is also an accomplished whistler.
His early work, which echoed gypsy jazz and traditional folk, has led into his current sound, which mixes rock with more broad compositions. His years of solo song-craft have now enabled him to produce a sound that is uniquely his own.
Trained by the Suzuki method from a young age and a graduate of Illinois’ Northwestern University, Bird released his first solo album, Music of Hair, in 1996. Vastly different from his later releases, this first album showcases his violin skills and pays tribute to his fascination with both American and European folk traditions, as well as jazz and blues.
His initial commercial exposure was in collaborative work with the band Squirrel Nut Zippers. He was quickly lumped in with the swing craze that swept the United States music industry in the mid ’90s; this is an affiliation that he is still working to shed.
Taking on the role of band leader in 1997 with Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire, he released the album Thrills. This was followed by Oh! The Grandeur in 1998. Both albums were heavily influenced by traditional folk, pre-war jazz and swing, with Bird relying on the violin as his primary musical instrument.