Redbird takes audience on bluesy flight
To experience success with their current band, Dillon Gorden and Drew Irwin first had to let another one fall apart.
Lansing resident Gorden and East Lansing resident Irwin both were members of alternative act A Letter to You, which broke up about two years ago, before forming their new group, Redbird.
“It’s been quite a process for the past couple years,” said Gorden, who is one of Redbird’s vocalists and guitarists.
Gorden, Irwin and Mount Pleasant, Mich., resident Chad Kemp, who is the band’s drummer, performed Saturday at RAINBOW FEST, which took place at Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., in Lansing. The trio played with folk band Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers as well as seven other Michigan-based acts.
“We were getting a lot of good vibes from people after we played,” Gorden said. “The people that were there really seemed to dig (our performance).”
Band members, who compare themselves to artists such as The Black Keys, describe their sound as melodic groove-rock with mellow beats and guitar-driven sounds.
Irwin, who is the band’s other vocalist and guitarist, said he feels as if the band members have grown as individuals, which in turn has helped their music develop and mature.
“I feel like we’ve grown up a little bit as human beings,” he said. “We’ve just been out there and living life, and that has provided some pretty interesting (material to take inspiration from).”
Lucas Rice, who attended East Lansing High School with Gorden and Irwin, said he has been a fan of Redbird since the band first formed, and he has been to every one of the group’s shows.
“The grooves are great,” the Lansing Community College junior said. “They know how to reach an audience with their music.”
Rice said what he really enjoys about the group is throughout their time as a band, members have stayed true to themselves, which is evident in their work.
“The whole thing from the beginning was they want to be an honest musical group,” he said. “The only way to reach fans with blues rock as a genre is kind of difficult. You have to put your feelings out there and into the music.”
When choosing a name for their group, Gorden said band members wanted something that was simple and symbolic, so they finally decided on Redbird. He said it is representative of the various perspectives people have because of the many different ways individuals can imagine a red bird.
“It can welcome anyone from anywhere,” Gorden said. “It’s putting to attention that you see the world through your own lens.”
In addition to Saturday’s show, Gorden said he and his bandmates have played a number of gigs in the Lansing area as well as in other Michigan cities, including Howell.
The band currently is working on its first album that will include a handful of new blues and pop songs. Group members said fans should expect to hear their latest tunes by the end of spring or early summer.
In the future, Gorden said the band has plans to branch out to larger cities such as Detroit and Grand Rapids, but for now, members are content performing where they can.
“We’re a new band, so we’re just kind of trying to play wherever they’ll have us,” he said.