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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 30, 2012
I had Andrew Bird pegged. He is that guy that makes complicated sophisticated pop music and he whistles. He's got a sweet voice, and an interesting world view. Right? Well, apparently he's like an onion--he's got layers. Hands of Glory is as basic as you can get--just take some fantastic musicians, put them all around a single microphone, mix in some old-time tunes, and see where you go. I would never have put Bird in an Alt-Country label, but that is what you get here. Great harmonies, picked string instruments played with passion and skill, and some plaintive fiddles make this seem like something that could be happening on an especially blessed porch in Appalachia. If you are already a fan of Bird, then pick this up with complete confidence--it is so good, so relaxed, so well played, you will soon be sharing it with all your friends. A great and unexpected treat.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2012
This is the sort of music you might expect to hear at a dive bar somewhere in the American Southwest. Bird's fiddle rolls with golden-honey harmonies and a simple strummed backbone. A calm, warm quiet. Less whine than whimper. I didn't know a fiddle could do that.

A reviewer nailed the Hands-of-Glory experience when he said, "It doesn't shock or change the course of rivers, but it does invite, and welcome, and maybe pour you a cup of tea and ask about your day."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2013
I have four or five Andrew Bird albums, and love every one. This work, which features old-style sound (heavy on the fiddle) and a spiritual, sometimes gospel feel, features his rich voice and string workmanship. "Three White Horses," the opening piece, is my favorite. Critics have not raved about this album as they have his others, finding it a bit 'aw shuck-sy,' but I enjoy the country flavor and particularly like his rendition of "If I Needed You."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2013
I saw Andrew Bird (with Tifft Merritt as guest violinist) on the David Letterman show and just had to buy his album (and one of hers, as well).

Wow--I love all kinds of music, bluegrass included. Andrew Bird plays unusual, but recognizable, tunes, modals, etc. I play it in my car on long country drives and love it more each time I take a trip.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon February 21, 2013
I'm a fan of Andrew Bird's music. His last album didn't quite strike me, but this one hit me squarely between the eyes (and ears). The production quality is excellent and every song is a keeper. The more I listen to it, the more I like it. Andy gets back to his folk roots with this release. There's plenty of gorgeous violin work but I'll admit that I do miss his signature whistle on Hands of Glory. The epic final track "Beyond the Valley of the Three White Horses"; reprises the first song of the album and ties it all together in a nice neat bow. I often listen to this album at work on repeat, and never tire of it. I'd love to hear it live.

For fans of folk, Andrew Bird's more stripped down and thoughtful creations, ...and just plain good, authentic music -- then Hands of Glory should not disappoint.

~ Kort
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2013
I have been a long fan of Andrew Bird, I bought this album immediately before going to see him in concert last month. I was impressed, but even more impressed once I saw him perform Three Horses live and alone. The man embodies endless talent and it shows through his compositions. A rounded, full bodied folk music experience.
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on March 13, 2014
Another very impressive outing by the talented Andrew Bird, a musician who enjoys taking risks, but never going so far into left field that the music becomes too much of a challenge to enjoy.

The opening track, the radiant "Three White Horses," sounds like something Ryan Adams wishes he had written. I wasn't familiar with "When the Helicopter Comes", the Handsome Family song that Bird does on this CD, but I think it's another one of the album's highlights. By contrast, his cover of Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You" is just okay, and to my ears sort of disrupts the flow of the album. Don't get me wrong; I love the song (my favorite version being the one by Don Williams), and Bird does a credible job of covering it, I just don't think it's a good fit on this collection.

That minor quibble aside, I think most fans of Andrew Bird will be very happy with this album. It's a fairly short one, but once again offers proof that Bird is one of America's most daring --- and interesting --- musicians.
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on May 19, 2014
He's been on a roll for the past five years or so and it seems like there is no stopping him. This is probably his most "normal" album in a while - not as much weird iimagery in the lyrics, and the songs are less frenetic as some in the past. Also some are just normal country/bluegrass sounding songs. But they're all really beautiful with some really great playing and singing throughout. Anyone who enjoyed Break It Yourself or Noble Beast will like this one as well.
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on May 19, 2013
Admittedly I like most material from Mr. Bird so I'm biased. He's a super talented songwriter and player, and this release stands out in that it has a live acoustic, down home feel. I recommend turning it up loudly on a quality home audio system capable of playing the upright bass in this recording. It sounds awesome! And the track Orpheo, which has a simple melody, is beautiful. This release took more listens to "get" but after time I think it may be one of his best.
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on December 12, 2012
This is different from his previous recordings in that it has more bluegrass or country (old time country) playing. I consider Andrew Bird to be as important and interesting as the Beatles, Van Morrison, David Bowie, and David Byrne. As someone who has been immersed in rock music all my life, these artists are set apart by continuing to evolve as artists and by having something interesting to say about humans, their activities, their imaginations.
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