IF YOU GO
What: Riverfront Nights featuring Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, with Rick Bowers Band opening.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Ross's Landing, 100 Riverfront Parkway.
Also at the landing
On the green: Paddlers Night with Rock/Creek Outfitters
The Pup Tent: Humane Educational Society
GreenSpaces Tent: Tennessee Wild
There is no standard path a band can take from conception to big-time success, but one tried-and-true method involves spending hours in a van traveling the country playing anywhere and everywhere.
That is the path Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds have taken. The Manhattan-based soul/funk/rock band spent this past summer crisscrossing the country, sometimes driving 17 hours to play, only to turn around after the gig for a 17-hour ride home.
"It has been a pretty hectic summer," said lead singer Arleigh "Sister Sparrow" Kincheloe. "It ended up being really insane with really long drives and not a lot of time to get there. We've been to Colorado and the West Coast, but it's been a wonderful summer."
Back in June, the band played its first Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, and Kincheloe sat down for an interview. Kincheloe said at the time that the band felt like the new kid on the block but that being there was a rite of passage.
"We are the dorks," she said. "We are new at this, and being here doesn't guarantee anything, but we can see that we are on the path to being one of the cool kids. We are here and going to play. And not in the parking lot."
Last week, she said that doing three sets at Bonnaroo was indeed a big step forward for the band, which headlines Saturday's Riverfront Nights concert at Ross's Landing.
"We were a little intimidated because of the size of it," she said. "There is so much to see and do. The best thing was we had people repeating and three-peating to see us. At Bonnaroo, that seems like the highest compliment because there are so many choices."
Playing in Manchester and other festivals around the country -- and the long hours in the van that come with it -- has made the nine-piece band tighter, she said.
"The past year has been a growing and learning process. I feel like we are getting stronger and stronger. I think it does directly relate to our onstage live shows. We can be so vulnerable to each other, and sometimes it seems like we can read each other's minds, and that's good because we want to be breathing in and out at the same time onstage. Traveling like this has helped."
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...