The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 18, 2014

This music is for the birds

WILLIAMSPORT -- Some birds tweet, others chirp and a few birds from Arkansas can belt out a soulful song reminiscent of a cool Frank Zappa tune.

You need to do some bird watching and a lot of listening to discover the music of these birds — the Birds Over Arkansas — this Saturday when this trio lands at Alabaster Coffee Roasting & Tea Co. in Williamsport.

“In the writing process, we started realizing we had these really fun initial ideas, often kind of quirky and unorthodox and then we would just edit and massage them down until they sounded like everything else,” said Scott Haskitt, a musician who wears many hats for the band including guitarist, percussionist and vocals. “It was really frustrating, sort of killing our own ideas joined musical forces. So we started doing the opposite; shining a light on the quirky bits from sessions and junking the normal sounding stuff. Eventually, those left turns started to make sense in their own way.”

The band was hatched in 2011 when Scott and fellow friends Laura Hartshorn on keyboards, ukulele and soulful vocals plus John Mondick on guitar, mandolin and vocals, joined forces.

According to Haskitt, music has always helped the trio stay sane. Drawing from influences such as Peter Gabriel, Yes, Ryan Adams, Pink Floyd and bands they heard on the radio but never caught their name, the band whipped everything together then added a grand dose of originality to create tunes that sound like a lot of fun.

Scott, a Philly resident, said their sound has a lot of harmonies and some progressive rhythmic tendencies that fits venues both large and small, wild and tame.

Each gig incorporates a selection of sounds and songs selected specifically for that venue with both selected cover songs and original material.

“We once played a wedding and an hour before we started, we found out the couple broke up,” Haskitt said. “The wedding reception was still a go and the couple stayed, mingled and danced at the party as friends. That was weird.”

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