Eight years ago, Eric and Heather Hurlock set up a four-track in their Coventryville living room and committed a handful of Christmas songs to tape. Though they had been home recording since the mid-90s, their band Tin Bird Choir did not properly exist yet. They were just making these compilations to share with friends for the holidays. But those friends liked what they heard, and encouraged them to pursue their music more seriously. Because of those musical holiday favors, their friend Todd Bartolo of the band Youngers asked them to open a up for a show at Chaplin’s coffee shop in Spring City, and the band was born.
In the time since, Tin Bird Choir has established itself as a strong presence in the regional roots rock community. Their mix of pop hooks, delicate harmonies and tight playing is a winning blend. Their 2009 album Barn Rock was indeed recorded in a barn, and the 2013 followup Homesteady saw them stepping forth into more rock-oriented territories. But they kept returning to those Christmas songs that got them their start, and this December released Tin Bird Christmas, a 27-song collection of original and traditional holiday classics, some of which were performed for us during their Key Studio Session (featuring guest Brad Hinton on guitar).
Opener “Trees,” from Barn Rock, is what Eric refers to as the band’s “secular humanist holiday song”; the playful / sad “Christmas at the Wawa” on the other hand is straight-up a Christmas song, and their rendition of “Blue Christmas” is rendered in a minor Key because, as Heather puts it, “I wanted it to sound devastating.” (Imagine “Blue Christmas” as done by Portishead and you’re on the right track.) Also in the mix are two non-seasonal songs – the soaring single “Take Me With You When You Go,” from Homesteady, and a bluesy new tune called “Take Off Little Spider” that gets its first recorded release here. Stream the set below, download it at Soundcloud, and let Tin Bird Choir warm your holiday week.
The Key Studio Sessions, Tin Bird Choir