Rare Bird Committee- a menagerie of sound.

Submitted by Megeara Nolan, Journal contributor.

A nascent version of what has since become the wildly fun and delightfully niche project Rare Bird Committee first coalesced after musician/composer Avery Adams moved to Orcas Island in 2015. Initially cutting his teeth in the music scene of his hometown of Friday Harbor, Adams had been putting out solo material for years and hoped his new island home might yield fellow musicians who would want to put together a band.

Upon meeting keyboardist Daniel Herasymchuck at a local open mic, the two quickly discovered a copacetic ease in blending their musical styles and began collaborating. After playing as a duo for a time, Adams and Herasymchuck were introduced to drummer Kevin Roth and in 2017, the trio that would become Rare Bird Committee was born. Originally calling themselves “Chill Collins”, the group’s music then very much reflected the spirit of their name.

Adams recalls, “[we were] like just a bunch of laid-back stoners wearing Hawaiian print shirts …”

Over the next few years, Chill Collins self-produced an EP with local singer-songwriter John Bellows, as well as undertaking several performances and a DIY tour spanning four states. Then in early 2020, the pandemic hit – resulting in a period of artistic reflection for the band members.

“During the Pandemic, we sort of took a break and assessed what we could and couldn’t do musically, and started writing the material that we’re playing now… started thinking about changing the band name and expanding what we were doing ..” said Adams.

Inspiration for the band’s current name came to Adams after happening upon a flock of red-winged blackbirds. After an internet search revealed that there already existed several bands called “Rare Bird”, the band decided on Rare Bird Committee as a distillation of the band’s animalistic “narrative theme”, as well as its imperative to be a musical collective of sorts.

“It’s very referential to [the band] being like a collective. It’s always been a three-piece, but we’ve had other people sit in the band, and when we play at the fair we’re a five-piece band…so it is like being a collective gives it a little bit of ambiguity, with three collaborators at the core,” explains Adams.

Rare Bird Committee’s name speaks not only to the band’s openness to collaboration but also to the smorgasbord of genres that informs their sound. Adams describes the band’s music as “indie-prog-pop”, citing West African Psyche Rock, 70’s progressive rock, 80’s power rock, along with bands like Yes!, The Darkness, Death Cab for Cutie, and Of Montreal all as important influences.

Where some bands might flounder into chaos under the task of combining these seemingly disparate traditions, the versatile musicianship of Rare Bird’s Committee’s members allows them to find freedom in the complexity of their sound.

Said Adams, “Yeah, I mean, it’s all over the place, and sort of purposely so…i have a background as a drummer, so it’s easy for Kevin and I to collaborate rhythmically. He is a really gifted and talented drummer who is like an absolute technician…his approach to his drum parts are unique and unorthodox.. always the last rhythm you would expect.”

Additionally, Adams attributes the unique nature of the band’s sound to the trio’s shared interest in polyrhythms, as well as “finding counterpoint melody and counter reference melody in both musical composition and vocal melody to make for more interesting, spacey music”. When asked to sum up what he aims to evoke with this multifaceted sound, Adams replied that he wants their music to create an atmosphere of “playful, moody, joyfulness” for listeners.

Rare Bird Committee’s upcoming performance at this year’s San Juan County Fair will welcome the musical stylings of local Orcas legend Al Bentley on Saxophone, as well as Adams’ partner and ongoing musical collaborator the talented Chelsea Sherman on synthesizer bass and vocals. Experience them on opening day of the San Juan County Fair, Aug. 16, 7:25 – 8:15 p.m. on the main stage. Mark those calendars and come shake some tail feathers.