* What: The Ragbirds.
* When: 9 p.m. Sunday.
* Where: The Honest Pint, 35 Patten Parkway.
* Admission: $5 online, $7 at the door.
* Phone: 468-4192.
* Online: www.thehonestpint.com.
2005: "Yes, Nearby"
2009: "Finally Almost Ready"
2012: "Travelin' Machine"
"What's interesting about The Ragbirds is that, from song to song, you never know what to expect, but there's still a common thread throughout." -- The Ragbirds' lead singer/fiddler Erin Zindle
To experience cultures from around the globe could require thousands of dollars and months of travel -- or 45 minutes listening to an album by The Ragbirds.
Founded in 2005 in Michigan by vocalist/fiddler Erin Zindle and her husband, percussionist Randall Moore, The Ragbirds have become well-known for writing songs that draw upon and intertwine diverse musical styles, from Caribbean and Cajun to Irish and African.
To Zindle, crafting such an eclectic mix isn't so much a study in wild musical alchemy so much as a reflection of her own desire to see what's over the next horizon.
"From song to song, you never know what to expect, but there's still a common thread throughout," she said. "We're ... traveling through all these different regions and exploring the world through our music, but we're still the familiar center of that journey."
In the last seven years, the Ann Arbor-based quintet has clocked plenty of miles behind the wheel of Cecilia, a Ford F-350 van named for the patron saint of music and powered by waste vegetable oil and biodiesel.
The Birds have played more than 150 gigs a year. They have toured in more than 40 states and have made appearances alongside artists such as Railroad Earth and Matisyahu at numerous marquee festivals, including 10,000 Lakes and New York's CMJ Music Marathon.
Sunday, they will return to Chattanooga to perform at The Honest Pint. There, the audience will hear songs from the entire sweep of their four-album catalog, including unreleased songs set to appear on the band's next studio album, Zindle said.
Over the years, The Ragbirds have been plagued by personnel changes, but the current lineup has been solid for two years. Although Zindle said she doesn't expect the band to lose its trademark adventurousness, that added lineup has had a decidedly positive effect.
"We have the strongest show we've ever had and continue improving," she said. "I also feel like we're kind of growing into a sense of who we are and feeling like we can, as a group, sort of hone in on what we're doing.
"I feel like I'm narrowing in [as a songwriter] on something that's much more 'me' than ever before. I feel like I'm learning a little bit more about what my home is."
Contact Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @Phillips CTFP.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...