Five Questions with Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds

Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds is an eight-piece rock-and-soul band led by powerhouse vocalist led by Arleigh Kincheloe (aka Sister Sparrow). Her brother Jackson Kincheloe and cousin Bram Kincheloe play harmonica and drums, respectively. Josh Myers is on bass, Sasha Brown on guitar, Ryan Snow on trombone, Phil Rodriguez on trumpet and Brian Graham on baritone saxophone. Last year, they played more than 150 shows, opened for Gov’t Mule, Fitz and the Tantrums, Counting Crows, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and Allen Stone. Though based in New York and often on the road, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds are repeat visitors to Asheville. They’ll play The Grey Eagle on Saturday, Feb. 23. Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band headlines. 9 p.m., $10 in advance / $12 day of show.

The photo (courtesy of the band), is of Arleigh and Jackson Kincheloe, stopping for a quick pose on the beaches of Miami before a recent show there.

Mountain Xpress: You all got a mention in Glamour Magazine’s “Obsessed” section. Seems like fashion mags have been more tuned in lately to cool bands — do you feel like there’s a connection between fashion and music? How does that play out in your sound or stage show?
Arleigh Kincheloe: I like to use fashion as another way of expressing myself and our music. Having creative license to wear what makes me feel good will always improve the way I perform. I want to feel comfortable and empowered, and my clothes can help me get there.

I read an interview with No Doubt recently where the band members were talking about how rare women-led rock bands still are. What are some of the strengths Arleigh brings to Sister Sparrow, on stage and on the road?
The band: Well, it can’t be understated how much patience it takes to put up with being trapped in a van with seven sweaty, foul-mouthed boys for weeks on end. It’s a courageous endeavor on her part and she handles it all in stride. Onstage, she’s a fierce, dynamic performer with boundless energy and a powerful voice that defies her size. She owns the stage. She’s the songwriter, and she has an amazing talent for lyric writing and catchy melodies. The music industry might be male-dominated, but she’s never let that slow her down, and at the end of the day, she knows she’s always got seven guys who have her back.

It’s been about a year since you released Pound of Dirt — anything new in the works? Any changes or new inspirations in terms of your sound and style?
AK: Yes! We’re so excited to get back in the studio. We have plans to record an EP in Los Angeles in March. Our sound is always evolving. I think my writing has been influenced by the road due to all of our travels as of late.

You’ve gotten to tour with some great acts — Gov’t Mule, Dr. John, the Rebirth Brass Band — if you could hand-pick an act or two to tour with in the future, who would it be and why?
Personally, I’ve always dreamed of sharing the stage with Bonnie Raitt. She’s been my idol since I was a little girl.

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds stops off in Asheville fairly regularly. What keeps you all coming back, and what can we expect at your upcoming Grey Eagle show?
Asheville is one of those special towns. There are a lot of like-minded people, the music scene is killer, and the beautiful scenery is a major plus. We can’t wait to return, especially with Asheville natives Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band and we’ve got a lot of new music that we’re excited to be playing. It’s going to get wild — you can expect a high energy show that keeps you dancing the entire time.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

3 thoughts on “Five Questions with Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds

  1. Lisa Bell

    Correction-Arleigh and Jackson are Siblings. Bram is their cousin.

  2. Lisa Bell

    Correction-Arleigh and Jackson are Siblings. Bram is their cousin.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.