Success in Kansas City gave the Blackbird Revue the impetus to head west to pursue its music dream.
The duo is the husband/wife team of Jacob and Danielle Prestidge, who met in 2008 shortly after Jacob moved to Kansas City. They started collaborating musically, then recording music and performing live.
Their music initially was a mix of Americana, roots music and folk. They have since transitioned into a sound that is more indie-rock. It all won over fans and promoters. The duo has performed at nearly every local music festival, including Middle of the Map and the Folk Alliance International, as well as out-of-town tours.
Thursday night at the RecordBar, the Blackbird Revue will say goodbye to Kansas City at a farewell performance, its last here before the couple move to Los Angeles. The two talked to The Star this week about where they’re going and what they’re leaving behind.
Q: Let’s talk about Thursday’s show. What are the plans?
Jacob: We’re going to play two sets that will represent our time in Kansas City. The first set is going to be acoustic. We’d like to do it completely unplugged, maybe not even be up on the stage but down in the room instead. Calvin Arsenia will join us for a couple of songs on the harp. That will be our first set. After an intermission, our second set will be with our full band.
Q: When do you move?
J: We have a little bit of wiggle room, but we are aiming for the end of this month.
Q: What are your plans when you get there?
J: That’s a great question. Danielle is going to look for a job as an administrative assistant in the music industry, like at a label or a booking agency, something along those lines.
I will focus on recording primarily. I’ve been having some success with music instrumentals that I create being used in TV and film. … My time will begin with me pursuing that full time for a couple of months, seeing if I can get that going a little more.
Q: Will you revive the band out there?
J: For sure. We are trying to be practical about what we can do right away out there and still support ourselves. But the ultimate goal is to make the Blackbird Revue our full-time career.
Q: Have you ever performed out there?
J: We’ve never played out there. I’d only been there once before December, when we took a trip for a few days. Danielle has done an internship in Los Angeles her senior year of college at a record label called the Militia Group. We have a few leads, but we’re going out there pretty cold.
Q: What do you take with you after eight years in Kansas City?
J: We met a lot of people we really care about here. I moved here about nine years ago not really knowing anyone. My brother lived out here and I got connected with his church community, but I really didn’t know anyone. But leaving now, it feels like my whole life is here. We’ve made so many connections in the music scene and also personal connections with people we really care about.
Professionally I feel like we’ve had success that has given us the confidence to feel like it’s necessary to move to Los Angeles. We’ve accomplished a lot: All the festivals we’ve played at; we released three EPs; we booked some tours; and we were able to quit our day jobs and dedicate ourselves full time to the Blackbird Revue while we lived in Kansas City.
Q: How is Kansas City and its music scene different now from how it was in 2008?
Danielle: Kansas City has become less of a flyover city and more of a destination, particularly because of the music scene. There’s the Middle of the Map Fest, the Folk Alliance International festival, Boulevardia. There are so many really good music festivals and events and a lot of great venues and a lot of newer venues.
I remember when downtown was a ghost town, and it’s so exciting now. It has some of the energy you feel when you’re in a much larger city — there’s a little bit of that downtown now.
Q: Is there more collaborating among bands and musicians than there used to be?
J: We decided a while ago that we weren’t going to view other bands or musicians competitively but like we were all part of the same scene and trying to make it great together. The number of musicians we’ve played with in the Blackbird Revue over the years is really high, people we’ve collaborated with or were part of the band for a while.
D: For this show, we’re playing with people we played with at the Plaza Art Fair, (people) who were willing to play with us, and it felt so easy and natural to add them on. It feels like everyone here is rooting for each other. What’s good for someone else is good for everyone who wants to see the music scene grow.
The Blackbird Revue performs at the RecordBar, 1520 Grand Blvd. Show time is 8 p.m. Admission is $10. The show will be the duo’s last Kansas City performance before they move to Los Angeles. therecordbar.com