Personnel: Oliver Craven (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar, mandolin, fiddle); Maya De Vitry (vocals, acoustic guitar, fiddle); Charles Muench (vocals, upright bass); Shane Leonard (vocals, drums, percussion, programming); Larry Campbell (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, fiddle); Marco Benevento (piano, organ, pump organ); Kai Welch (piano, organ, keyboards).
Audio Mixer: Justin Guip.
Recording information: Goosehead Palace and Paul's House, Nashville, Tennessee; Guip Studio, Milan Hill, New York.
Photographer: Jacob Blumberg.
For their fifth studio long-player, the Stray Birds branch out in more ways than one, working for the first time with an outside producer (Grammy award-winner Larry Campbell), bringing in a small army of talented guest musicians and collaborating on the songwriting. The Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based band's penchant for pairing back porch bluegrass-folk with evocative Americana remains intact, but this time around they've tossed a bit of pop in the hopper, resulting in their most diverse and radio-friendly set of songs to date. While the group's effortless harmonies remain one their biggest selling points, Magic Fire is bolstered by some sharp songwriting as well, with the soulful opener "Shining in the Distance," the bouncy, Fleetwood Mac-ian "Where You Come From," and the irreverent, Zydeco-tinged "Sabrina," the latter of which manages to lead the charge with a reference to Yuengling beer, a Keystone State specialty. ~ James Christopher Monger