The only live recording on this list, Brett Hughes’ “Sweet Little Bird” has yet to be released on a studio album. The version I’ve been playing for the latter half of the decade I ripped from a Vermont Public Radio session video. I hope to replace it with a higher-fi studio take one of these days.
Other than aforementioned audio fidelity (the radio station did a fine job recording it, but we’re still talking about an MP3 ripped from a YouTube video), I hope the eventual studio recording sounds exactly like this. Hughes’ seven-piece backing band takes care not to overwhelm a song as small and fragile as its titular character. Only duet partner Kat Wright takes center stage, lending her powerful country-soul vocals to counter Hughes’ understated drawl.
Until he releases a studio album that’s been long-awaited in his home state, this live video will more than suffice. It starts with “Sweet Little Bird,” but keep it rolling for the two other great songs that follow.