Erin Zindle & the Ragbirds have a new story to tell — periodically releasing one chapter of it at a time throughout the spring and summer, dropping new singles upon the occasion of every full moon, each one uniquely emblematic of a recent creative resurgence for the Ann Arbor-based Zindle and her versatile ensemble.
But it’s never the same old story because their music has always been an eclectic blend that’s resisted singular genre categorization.
Imagine worldbeat meets Celtic meets twangy Americana meets indie rock, but also make it danceable with sophisticated lyricism mixed with a furiously elegant violin at the center of it all. That’s the Ragbirds, a band that Zindle started in the late 2000s, consistently releasing albums for over a decade. The group officially updated the band’s name to Erin Zindle & the Ragbirds in 2019.
This year feels as though it truly marks the arrival of the band’s next era — heavier into the grit and groove of rock and blues, particularly on songs like “Rebel in My Veins” and “Stay Behind The Wheel,” that contain lyrics emanating a rejuvenated resolve and self-empowerment.
The guitars hit you right away with brand new single, “Armageddon,” an utterly urgent barn burner of a ballad. You feel as though you should start running as soon as you press play, but you might not know in which direction. The arrangement captures a sense of stormy panic, while the lyrics set an imperative tone haranguing those in power à la Bob Dylan’s “Masters Of War.”
The vocals are cathartic, the tempo is driving and the bridge begins with tremendous drum fills that lead into a “roar-off” between the guitars and Zindle’s violin. But the special sauce of this song might be the eerie yet beautiful piano chimes that are pulsing underneath the choruses.
Put your headphones on, open your ears and your heart, and rock out.
Erin Zindle & the Ragbirds will headline the Ark in Ann Arbor on Oct. 28. Get details at theark.org.