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Turn It Up

Turn It Up: December 28, 2012

Pound of Dirt (Modern Vintage Recordings) is far from what you’ll get from the dozen songs that comprise the second studio outing from Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds. Instead, what gets served up by this nine-piece is the same kind of vibrant funk you’d expect to hear from fellow Brooklynites Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings—a punchy brass section, fluid rhythm section and a sassy soul shouter. And while Jones is roughly twice the age of Arleigh Kincheloe, the latter can more than hold her own whether she eerily sounds like Sheryl Crow on the Americana ballad “Millie Mae,” snarls her way through the gritty “Dirt” or applies the kind of blistering yowl on the infectious foot-stomper “Too Much” that you wouldn’t expect from someone that’s so slight of frame. Elsewhere, brother Jackson, whose blistering harp playing is reminiscent of Blues Traveler’s John Popper on the frenetic and energetic opener “Make It Rain,” makes more like Little Walter Johnson on the gritty instrumental “Bulldozer” while the snappy timekeeping provided by cousin Bram and the squiggly synthesizer lines contributed by guest keyboardist Jonathan Anderson on “Feather of a Queen” allows some of the Dirty Birds to channel their inner George Clinton. It all ends up being a wonderful collision of rootsy genres that makes you forget this ridiculously talented crew of musicians hails from New York City and not New Orleans.