If members of Phish and the Black Crowes formed a side project on the banks of the Brazos River, it’d sound something like Austin, Texas, quartet Wisebird. The band easily melds raunchy Southern guitar riffs with deeply funky bass and organ jams. Like any highly jammy-but-lyrically-relevant band, the songs are tight, but the vibe is loose.
Wisebird’s roots are in Utah, where drummer Dave Meservy and guitarist Will Webster grew up playing together. Keyboardist Trevor Nealon met the pair during a stint as a ski bum in Park City and convinced them to relocate to Austin, where he’d been regularly playing with the Band of Heathens, another recent Pour House sensation via Texas, who Nealon still jams with the Heathens; they opened for the Black Crowes last month in Austin. Upon settling in their new home, the band immediately met bassist Joe Beckham. In two years he’s yet to miss a gig.
October marks Wisebird’s third, fourth, fifth, and sixth visits to Charleston. They play the Pour House every Tuesday as part of a Southeast residency that finds them playing weekly gigs at other musical hotspots like Atlanta’s Smith’s Olde Bar and Charlotte’s Double Door Inn.
“March was the first time we played the Southeast, and it seems like the people here seem to get it more than in other places,” says keyboardist Nealon. “We’re all on pins and needles — it’s kind of risky in a sense, putting all our eggs in a few baskets, if you will, but these venues have a lot of cool history, and we’re hoping to add to that in a small way.”
Wisebird should have early copies of their recently mastered sophomore disc, On a Wire, sometime during their Charleston stand. The full-length disc is a follow up to 2007’s self-titled EP.
They’ll be learning the South’s interstate system well this month, but it feels like a break for the nationally touring group.
“We’re used to driving from Austin, where everything’s at least eight hours,” says Nealon. “An eight-hour drive here can get you a lot of places.”