Who: Paper Bird
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St.
The members of Paper Bird are anything but flighty.
Celebrating their fifth year together last month, the eight-person local folk group will perform Thursday at the Boulder Theater, joined by Denver’s Dovekins, Spirit of the Red City and the Claptet.
The band will perform songs from their recently released third full-length album, “Carry On,” which draws from a series of live performances whose compositions accompanied Colorado’s Ballet Nouveau last February. In addition, Paper Bird has new songs yet to be recorded that they’ll be playing, as well as old favorites.
“We’ve been just so excited to play these songs for people,” vocalist Esmé Patterson said of her band back from two recent tours up the West Coast and throughout the Southwest area. “It’s really a lot of fun and we’re in love with our new songs.
“I generally say it’s joyful,” Patterson said about her group’s unique fusion of sounds that includes the surprising inclusion of a lush horn section. “It’ll just make you happy is mainly what it synthesizes into. It’s orchestral folk music.”
Patterson — who never listened to much folk growing up, opting instead for R&B — learned through playing with Paper Bird that she “really loves folk music. It has been very interesting. And very edifying, too.”
For Patterson, the main draw of folk is its being “just people talking to people, not on a pedestal. Just swapping stories, really. As a band, that’s kind of where we’re at: The audience and the band sharing an experience together.”
Patterson, along with the rest of her band members, is remaining busy with creative projects including developing new material for their forthcoming album, hand-sewing shirts for fans and the “many other ways that the band expresses itself aside from the musical experience.
“Our problem is our band has way too many creative ideas and having to scale them down to reality,” Patterson laughed.
“It’s all just a natural expression of our group and the eight of us together. It’s the same ethos that drew us to folk music. It just feels like you’re connecting with people more. ‘Hey, I made that shirt!’ It’s more honest. If you’re having people pay for it, you should make it yourself.”
“Everything with the group is so natural, it’s kinda crazy,” said Sarah Anderson, who plays the trumpet and sings for Paper Bird.
Part of their overall process includes the group’s direct collaboration with those working the technical aspects of their productions.
Jeremy Averitt, a Denver-based musician and DJ who has worked with many local groups on everything from mixing to producing their albums and has been a technical advisor to both the Boulder and Fox Theaters in the past, mixed “Carry On” for Paper Bird, calling it “a real pleasure.” The album contains 17 songs culled from six live Ballet Nouveau performances.
“We probably spent about 80 to 85 hours on it,” Averitt said, noting that the band members were around through much of the album’s post-production, making sure that things he might not have been able to hear — a vocal track here, a drum intro there — were captured properly.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t have known how to mix it unless they were there with me,” Averitt said. “Without them, it would’ve taken a lot longer to find everything, especially since it was live show with everyone moving around and switching microphones. We needed to clean it up, but we also wanted to keep it sounding live. It was a delicate balance.”
It was really easy and fun because the music is so good,” Averitt said. “I could keep listening to it, There are a lot of albums I’ve worked on where I couldn’t ever listen to them again.”
“I admire their work,” said Andy Schneidkraut, owner of Albums on the Hill and long-time seller of Paper Bird’s music. “They challenge you musically but bring you back to a different time. They remind me of a Depression-era photograph come to life. They also have a strong sense of their visual presentation as well as their musical presentation. And it’s not just because they have their beautiful front women who are not of this era.”
Schneidkraut said he was especially enraptured with the band’s creation of their own three-dimensional window display for the release of a past album. “It was one of the most troubling but entrancing window displays I’ve ever had. There were a lot of chicken bones in it. They’re a band that doesn’t just bring one dimension to bear.”