Monday, July 24, 2017 This Week's Paper

Blackbird Pie

// “To All You Thieves and Assassins”

The men of local outfit Blackbird Pie serve up nine tracks of folky pop rock on their 2009 release "To All You Thieves and Assassins."

Officially formed in 2007 by brothers David (rhythm guitar, vocals) and Dan Haakenson (bass, backing vocals), the duo chose the moniker Blackbird Pie as a way to represent their philosophy of making the best with what you have. Since then the band has done some recording (a two song EP "The Walking Blues" in 2006 and later a 10-track LP "This is What You Gave Me"), expanded with new members and sounds and have shared their tunes with audiences in coffee houses and eclectic music venues steadily since incorporation.

When it was time to write their second full-length album, "To All You Thieves and Assassins," the brothers added drummer/keyboardist Andy Moore and guitar player Jack Bruner to round out their minimalist sound. Bruner, who has since left the band, also engineered the 2009 release. Bruner has been replaced by a new member who has joined Blackbird Pie in their ongoing live performances since the release of "To All You Thieves."

Mellow, acoustic guitar and drumbeats back the Haakensons' clear vocal styling and harmonies. David Haakenson's vocals sometimes reveal influences of the funky styles of Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd.

Bruner's electric guitar riffs and the occasional solo add just the right amount of rock and intensity to the mellow, pop-laden folk melodies.

Songs like "Call it Good" and "Love Me Like That" show off Blackbird Pie's upbeat, catchy pop abilities, adding diversity to the album that typically goes in a slower, introspective and sometimes melancholy direction with songs like "Shirt and Tie," "Rock Garden" and "7 Fat Cattle."

The group of musicians is able to move around in styles and sounds, while keeping a cohesive feel throughout the album. While "To All You Thieves and Assassins" misses the mark from time to time, the group has proven their staying power on the local live circuit. Blackbird Pie plays at 8 p.m. Feb. 26 at Northern Pacific Coffee Company in Parkland. Find out more about the band and other upcoming performances at