As I noted previously on this blog, I interviewed Jackson Kincheloe of Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds right after the band’s performance on the afternoon of Sunday, July 21 2013 at Targheefest in Alta, Wyoming. The band sounded great at this show, with a sound that combined a horn section of bari sax, trombone, and trumpet, a female lead singer with a big R&B tone, a BIG rock guitar, an amped harmonica, and a rock rhythm section.
This was a long interview, and I’m going to publish it in pieces. In this first part of the conversation, Jackson discussed his role(s) in Sister Sparrow and the gear that makes it possible.
RH: So Jackson, that was a great set. I was amazed at how much rock there was in the band. I watched a couple of the videos on Youtube and with the horn section it seemed very 60s R&B-ish. But that live show had a lot of rock in it.
JK: Oh yeah.
RH: How do you see your role in this band?
JK: I’m one of the premiere soloists, I guess, as our trombone player told me one time. I get to take a lot of kind of rock harmonica solos. But then I also do a lot of, which is recently in the last two years, of pads, trying to think of where the keyboard player would be, so I’ll do a lot of organ sounds.
RH: I noticed that you were using a chorus or a rotary speaker or something like that on a lot of songs. Maybe this is a good time to ask, what’s in your stage rig?
JK: I go into an Electrovoice RE-10 (microphone), into the Samson Airline 77 wireless unit, which Greg Heumann set me up with, into a Kinder antifeedback pedal, which I was told about a long time ago by Dennis Gruenling. Mine is on the fritz right now. Then I go into a BBE compression, the Optistomp, then into a Boss harmonist PS-6, then into an Electro Harmonix Micro Pod, then into a Maxon autofilter, which is an idea from Chris Michalek, I got that early on, into a TC Electronics Corona Chorus, which is where I get my rotary effect. I’d like to get a better rotary effect. Then I go into the MXR Carbon Copy analog delay, then into a Line6 Echo Park delay pedal for my slapback and stuff like that, then into an Ernie Ball volume pedal, then into a tube amp.
RH: What’s the amp? Is that the amp that was facing you onstage?
JK: Yeah, I do that because sometimes in smaller places I don’t get a stage monitor. It’s like a Deluxe with some tube changes by a guy in New York City.
RH: We talked before about the roles you’re playing in the band, like the string pads you do or the organ sounds you’re doing. Did you start doing that stuff after you got your hands on some of these pedals. Like did the change in the sound change the way you were thinking about your role?
JK: Absolutely. I’d heard of people doing it before, you talk about it on harp-l, other people are doing it. Our old bari sax player–he’s no longer in the band, but we’re still friends–he introduced me to some of his effects. He used a looper and made a lot of very cool sounds. Anyway, it was all kind of by accident. I was playing a lot of the horn lines int he band and trying to fit in with too much playing. I still play a lot of the horn lines, but I play even more in between the horn lines, so then I was thinking I should do more of an organ pad sound that would fill up the background—cause the guitar’s the only guy that can make chords, the horn section, they play together, but there’s a lot of single note instruments, we don’t have a keyboard player able to cover that stuff.
RH: It works really well.
JK: Still learning, for sure.
RH: You can hear it filling in the space in the background. It’s another of the rocking elements in the mix as well.
Stay tuned for the next installment in this interview soon.