Flying with The Littlest Birds: Cello, banjo band return to Highlands Center
Cello, banjo duo The Littlest Birds will swoop into Prescott for a special engagement at the Highlands Center, 1375 S, Walker Rd., on Saturday, Sept. 14. at 7 p.m.
Tom Agostino, concert promoter and director with Prescott-based Folk Sessions, said the band first came to the Highlands Center last year for a sold-out performance.
"It's a really unique combination of the two instruments," Agostino said. "It was really an incredible show. The Highlands Center series is outdoors in the amphitheater, so the sound of the cello just rose over the amphitheater into the stars. It was a beautiful combination of sound and setting. People really liked them. They really connected with the audience, so we decided to bring them back again."
Local group WeatherGlass, featuring Callaghan Howard, will open for The Littlest Birds.
"What's really unique about them is they do a lot of songs in Gaelic and Celtic," Agostino said.
Sharon Martinson, half of the Littlest Birds duo, plays the banjo while partner Dave Huebner plays the cello. The duo is based in Bishop, California, near the Sierra Mountains.
"We both performed with other groups and played with other instrumentations," Martinson said. "Touring as a duo makes a lot of sense. Dealing with two people on the road and different schedules it's a lot easier to organize. We like the sound of just the banjo and the cello together. Part of it is that the entire voice of each instrument can be expressed. When I'm playing in a group that has a fiddle player or he's playing in a group that has a bass player, it can limit where on the instrument you play."
The sound of the two instruments creates what she described as a "surprisingly full sound."
"Part of that is that we are both free to play any note we wanted. It's fun playing with just the two of us. It's also fun, when we have musician friends in town, to have them sit in here or there. But if the question were asked who will the Littlest Birds be in 10 years, I would bank money that it would still just be the two of us," Martinson said.
Both Huebner and Martinson said they were excited to be invited back to Prescott.
"It was a gorgeous evening at the Highlands Center. Last year it sold out, which was just amazing. It's an honor to get to play a second time. We play old time music from Appalachia, with just the two of us we do it in our own style," Martinson said. "We've got a bunch of new material."
The duo are currently at work on their third album and may soon release a live album as well.
Tickets for the show are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets can be purchased in Highlands Center gift shop or on the Folk Sessions website at www.folksessions.com. More information on the Littlest Birds can be found online at www.littlestbirds.net and on their Facebook page.