After four albums, all well received in the roots and World Music realms, the Ragbirds wanted to come "home" with their fifth album, "The Threshold & the Hearth."
And that doesn't just mean to Ann Arbor, where the quintet is based.
"We feel like we fell into something that's more...It feels like home to us," Erin Zindle, the Ragbirds' frontwoman and chief songwriter, says by phone for the Ann arbor home she shares with her husband, group percussionist Randall Moore, and their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. "That ended up being a big theme overall, an overarching feel, the feeling of coming home.
"We've done so much traveling both physically, with our bodies, and stylistically with our music. This album is more like finding what our sound's like."
It certainly still sounds like a Ragbirds album, exploring a variety of styles, flavors and textures from around the world. The different this time is that they're blended together in a way the band hasn't done before.
"On our previous records, you can definitely tell which songs is inspired by which ethnic style of music or by a specific region of the world," Zindle, 38, explains. "This album still has a lot of world rhythms on it and some interesting scales and melodies, but you can't really pick a song and say, 'This sounds gypsy' or 'This song is Celtic.' It's much harder to pin it down, which has been a process for over 10 years of my songwriting and finding what my sound is."
The Ragbirds also decided to get some help on that journey this time. After producing the four previous albums itself, the group recorded "The Threshold & The Hearth" with Los-Angeles-based Jamie Candiloro, a Grammy Award nominee who`s also worked with R.E.M., the Eagles, Willie Nelson and Ryan Adams. "We wanted to expand and do better than we've done in the past in every way possible," says Zindle, who also teaches songwriter at Interlochen Center for the Arts during the summer. "We were nervous about bringing this L.A. guy into what's always been such a homegrown thing for us, but he was so in tune with us and our vision, and he just helped to challenge us and push us and stretch us without us feeling stretched too thin or pushed to hard.
"We just felt like we were being lifted up to the next level, which I'm super happy about. I'm ready for a bigger stage -- whatever that means for us."
The Ragbirds and the Appleseed Collective
Friday, March 25. Doors open at 8 p.m.
The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.
Tickets are $15.
Call 248-544-3030 or visit themagicbag.com.
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