Birds Over Arkansas formed in 2011 when Scott Haskitt, Laura Hartshorn, and John Mondick discovered that the product of their musical experimentations was greater than the sum of its parts. Although they reside in different states (Scott and Laura live in New Haven, CT, while John lives in Philadelphia, PA), they continued their long distance collaboration after realizing that the spark of creativity and collaboration they had forged could not be duplicated by working on their own or with other musicians.
Drawing from influences such as Peter Gabriel, Ryan Adams, Frank Zappa, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, and Yes, their music infuses heartfelt lyrics, infectious melodies, and complex rhythmic structures to create compelling and moving songs that are the antithesis of today’s manufactured pop music.
Having known each other from many singer-songwriter based projects over the years, Scott and John began feeling like they were trying to force themselves into the wrong genre.
“In the writing process, we started realizing that we had these really fun initial ideas, often kind of quirky and unorthodox, and then we would just edit and massage them down until they sounded like everything else. It was really frustrating, sort of killing our own ideas. So we started doing the opposite; shining a light on the quirky bits from sessions and junking the normal sounding stuff. Eventually, those left turns started to make sense in their own way”.
Around the same time, Laura and Scott were trying to pick up the pieces of a dissolved cover band in New Haven. “We did a lot of Queen, so we all sang in the band, and Laura and I really blended well vocally together. We didn’t want to lose that, so we kept playing gigs and added in the originals John and I were working on. As soon as John started joining in on shows, we were suddenly having the time of our lives playing covers and really quirky originals”.
The BOA lineup was completed in 2014 with the addition of drummer Ryan Berg (Strand of Oaks, Project/Object) and bassist Chico Huff (James Taylor, Carly Simon, David Crosby, Solas).
Their music has garnered critical acclaim from fellow musicians, music industry professionals, and fans around the world. Aspen Public Radio named the song “Catapult” from the Behind The Lights EP as one of the 16 best “Under The Radar” songs of 2014.
We live in strange times where being in a band implies a whole lot more than just music. Birds Over Arkansas are a rare group who prove great playing, great sounds, great songs and great people still can be all you need for truly great music.
Brian McTear / Weathervane Music, Miner Street Recordings
Birds Over Arkansas have a great song here…”Lay Down Tonight”. What a beautifully performed vocal, and wonderful backing track. I’m singing along and loving it!!!…Being a huge Beatle fan, I instantly fell in love with the vibe of this song. It reminds me so much of a John Lennon creation. BRAVO !!!!
Joe Vitale / CSN, Eagles, Dan Fogelberg, Peter Frampton
Something magical happens when musicians learn to let go of trying to please the mainstream and just write music that feels good to them. Any real music fan can tell immediately when a song sounds forced into a genre. Our latest discovery, Birds Over Arkansas, finally found this freedom and has been on the fast track to stardom ever since.
Indie Band Guru
BOA is currently recording their follow up full length release to 2014’s Behind The Lights EP, with tour dates in the Northeast U.S. to follow.