The Blackbird Revue has shrunk, but its sound has grown and evolved.
Once a six-piece Americana band, the Revue is now a duo tinkering with indie-rock. The husband-and-wife team of Jacob and Danielle Prestidge has been making music since 2008. Back then, they were fans of different genres.
“I was coming from a much more folky place,” said Jacob Prestidge, “and Danielle’s tastes were much more electronic rock, bands like the Killers and Shiny Toy Guns.”
The two met by happenstance at a mutual friend’s house in early 2008. Jacob Prestidge had moved to Kansas City from Pennsylvania, where he earned a degree in music-recording technology.
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Jacob Prestidge, who had made a couple records with a ska bands in high school, had just released a solo EP called “The Blackbird Revue.” He also had some other songs in the can, so when he and Danielle started collaborating, he was the principal songwriter. They would release two EPs: “The Whaler and Other Stories” in 2010 and “Glow” in 2013.
“We’d become a six-piece band with pedal steel that was going for a very Americana sound,” he said, “kind of a Ray LaMontagne or Amos Lee kind of feel.”
They also drew comparisons to the Civil Wars and Over the Rhine, bands that mix acoustic folk and pop and bits of country and that lay down transcendent harmonies. Danielle Prestidge’s voice is a lovely, porcelain soprano (think of Alison Krauss) that blends perfectly with Jacob’s warm tenor. Their EPs were well-received and he’s proud of them, but Jacob Prestidge said those songs, which were all his, didn’t reflect what the two could have created by collaborating.
“When Danielle wanted to collaborate, rather than stop what I was doing and create something new, I made the mistake of continuing what I was doing and she joined in,” he said. “It has taken us a long time to get where we are now, which is a much truer collaboration.”
Last year, after a couple band members moved on to other music projects or away to other cities, the Prestidges decided to become a duo, although one that sounds bigger than that.
They are working together on a full-length recording, which they hope to release in winter.
That record will reflect the Blackbird Revue’s new direction.