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Artist of the Month: The Blackbird Revue





Artist of the Month: The Blackbird Revue

(Photo by Kristi Yarcho)
 
From the first moments of hearing a performance from The Blackbird Revue, you know you’re in for something special. Danielle and Jacob Prestidge have been creating music together since they started dating. Six years later, their musical and romantic collaboration has proven successful: the two have been married for 5 years, they have two acclaimed albums under their belts, and their music has been featured on national television.
 
Since then, Danielle and Jacob’s connection as artists has continued to solidify. The Blackbird Revue is a collaboration of Danielle’s upbeat pop influences with Jacob’s sincere folk approach, resulting in compositions that are simultaneously sweeping, delicate, and intriguing. The duo’s latest offerings have incorporated a multi-instrument approach, adding a momentous layer to its already purposeful music.
 
We talk with Jacob Prestidge a bit more about the duo, and find out what else they’re up to. They are also one of our November Artists of the Month!
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
 
Jacob Prestidge: I might describe our music as harmony-laden, rhythmically driving folk-rock.
 
The Deli: Give me some background info on The Blackbird Revue. I inferred from your bio that your musical collaboration and relationship coincided with one another. If I am correct, how do you think that has affected your music?
 
Jacob: We began playing music together almost as soon as we began dating. Our musical relationship has been like our personal relationship in many ways. I would not say working together musically, or as a couple was easy, or natural from the start. Some relationships are like that; ours was not. We've been learning, and continue to learn how to fuse two different personalities, tastes, and styles into a cohesive, fulfilling expression. Has it been difficult? Absolutely, but I have no doubt that it's made us stronger as a couple, and better as a band.
 
The Deli: What else inspires your music and songwriting? Do you write everything together, or is there a primary songwriter?
 
Jacob: We both write. Historically, I have been the primary songwriter, but lately Danielle has been writing more and more, which I am genuinely thrilled about. Danielle is often inspired by her own life experiences. Her songs often have a cathartic effect and a deeply personal meaning. I, on the other hand, tend to tell stories. I'll generally write more of a third-person narrative, into which I'll infuse a few lines of my own heart, my own experiences.
 
The Deli: I've seen The Blackbird Revue as a full band, but more recently just the two of you. Do you plan on keeping it that way, or adding more members in the future?
 
Jacob: We both love playing with a full band, but at this point in our career the two-piece just makes a lot more sense. It allows us to travel much more, and it definitely plays to certain strengths of ours, such as our harmonies, and our songwriting.
 
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
 
Jacob: That's very hard to say. We've had some things happen that sound good in a bio, but our desire is honestly to share the gifts we've been entrusted with to bless people. If someone has been moved by a song of ours, been wakened to beauty around them, or somehow felt less alone in the world, then that would without question be our greatest accomplishment.
 
The Deli: Are you in the process of recording anything? If so, what can we expect from it? Will it be different from your previous albums?
 
Jacob: We're in the process of being in the process. We have a grand plan that involves raising money for our own home studio. My degree is in music recording. So our goal is to have the tools and the time to record a new album as we'd like, and then be able to record more at a minimal cost, and even getting into producing records with other bands that we love. At this point, we're simply trying to build our fanbase to the point where we feel like our specific financial goal is attainable.
 
I can say we do have the material for our first full-length album, and it will be both similar and different from our previous releases. Danielle is writing more, and she lends a more driving, upbeat pulse to the sound. Additionally, the electric guitar has been playing an increased role in our newer music. For a sample of what this might sound like, you can check out the brand new video for our latest single, “Blueprints” (below). That said, the album will not be a total departure from what has made us who we are; there will be plenty of acoustic guitar, and lovely harmonies.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Jacob: It's very important to us. It takes some effort to find the bands you really love, and it takes some effort to get out of the house and go see them. But we've personally never been sorry we made the effort.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
 
Jacob: Our KC area favorites are (and this is incredibly hard, by the way): The Grisly Hand, Akkilles, Outsides, White Girl.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite non-local musicians right now?
 
 
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
 
Jacob: If someone asked us to open for a tour featuring Stevie Nicks (Danielle's pick) and Emmylou Harris (Jacob's pick), that'd be okay by us.
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
 
Jacob: Hmm. Our personal musical Mt. Rushmore would include Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Paul McCartney, and Stevie Nicks.
 
The Deli: What other shows do you have coming up?
 
Jacob: We're heading out for a short tour this week through Chicago, Columbus, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster, PA.
 
In the KC area we have some great shows coming up, including November 25 at The Bottleneckin Lawrence with Dawn & Hawkes; December 5 at The Riot Room with Nick Thomas of The Spill Canvas; December 12 at 12 Baltimore for their Emerging Artist Series; and December 18 for a Christmas House Concert at our place. We also just found out we’ll be playing an official showcase at the 2015 Folk Alliance International conference this February.
 
The Deli: What other goals does The Blackbird Revue have for the rest of the year, and beyond?
 
Jacob: We want to get better. Better as songwriters, better as singers and musicians. Better at getting the sounds we want in the studio. Improvement is our constant goal. We will get a new album out in 2015, and it will be our best yet.
 
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
 
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Jacob: Thank those who help make you aware of good local and regional music. It's too often their hard work goes unnoticed, or underappreciated.
 
Next Tuesday, November 25, you can catch The Blackbird Revue at The Bottleneck, where they will be supporting Americana duo Dawn & Hawkes from Austin. Facebook event page.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 
 
 

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