Friday, August 19, 2011

Focusbird EP

One nice project I was involved with during my time at UCSB was a little band called Focusbird. We got our start playing house shows in Isla Vista with folk-oriented groups like the charming and talented Watercolor Paintings. Sarah Stanley wrote the songs, sang and played ukelele and flute, and I played glockenspiel and sometimes sang and helped with song arrangements. Our live shows, which culminated (to our amazement) in a memorable gig opening for Mirah in the spring of 2010, were always the quietest of the night.

This self-titled EP represents our six most frequently played songs - however, these recordings are more fleshed out in sound than what we used to perform live as a duo, thanks to the expert studio-direction of jazz pianist & composer Dory Bavarsky. His contributions, including parts for clarinet, harmonium and other instruments, constitute a sort of "orchestrated version" of Focusbird - though overall the sound is still very much stripped down. Let me thank Dory again here, as I can't do it enough for what a great job he did.

The cover art was made by the exceptionally talented illustrator Julia Kostreva. Her graceful vision of the music completed the package.

Focusbird is streaming at; you can download the EP for free or for a donation. The band (in terms of its original performing lineup) is now on indefinite hiatus, as Sarah resides in New York and I remain in California; however, Sarah continues to write new songs and to practice mandolin, flute and singing. Follow her writings on science and music at

Once more for those who skip to the bottom looking for links, download Focusbird at