Fans of timeless music and impeccable sound may have found a new home to indulge all of their aural faculties. Songbyrd in Adams Morgan recently revamped their downstairs performance space with a state-of-the-art audio system. In addition to the boost it’ll give their weekly shows, they’ve introduced a new partnership with an audiophile listening party that’s made waves in cities across the globe.
Classic Album Sundays is now in D.C., and attendees will get the chance to hear major artists’ seminal works, uninterrupted and rapt in stereophonic bliss. The party also features seminars on the cultural significance of the works within their period in history. They’ll draw connections between the music and the city, and hope to broaden our understanding of how the sounds have shaped our actions in a political and civil context. Learn more about your city! Enjoy themed drink specials! We love vinyl, Songbyrd loves vinyl, and that crisp crackle of an old record over brand new speakers is going to be divine.
I spoke to Songbyrd’s Media Director Peter Lillis about the new project, and what to expect this Sunday when they roll out the first installment, showcasing Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life.
Give me a little background on Classic Album Sundays and its iterations in other cities.
PL: Songbyrd is thrilled to bring the world-famous Classic Album Sunday program to Washington, D.C.! Classic Album Sundays is the world’s most popular album listening experience, providing both cultural context and premium audiophile sounds for classic albums of all genres. First opened in London, the event series has opened chapters in Oslo, New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Cambridge and Fukuoka. The events allow the listener to hear music contextually, communally, uninterrupted, and in great sonic detail. At their worldwide listening sessions, music fans are able to immerse themselves into an album that has helped shape our culture, and in some cases, our lives. Each event is a reflection of its host city, as we hope our D.C. chapter will be.
So is the idea behind the project is to provide the best sonic listening experience for some universally beloved albums?
Yeah, we want to provide a premium listening experience, which includes playing the music on vinyl through certified hi-fi equipment provided by our friends at Audioism. The intent is to hear classic albums from across decades and genres through a premium sound system, to provide a faithful reproduction of the recorded music as it was intended. The presentation and discussion aspect will provide historical, cultural, social and emotional context for appreciating the album and its day.
Why did Songbyrd get chosen as the D.C. location for the party? Or did you guys seek them out based on your familiarity with the project?
Providing a premium listening experience is a major tenet of the Songbyrd mission. It’s what we live for! So when we shared our story with Colleen Murphy, founder of Classic Album Sunday, bringing the program to DC was a no-brainer. She shared a message: “We are so excited to be working with Songbyrd Music House and Audioism as they are like-minded people with the same core values.”
What were the changes made to the sound system?
This summer we partnered with Audioism to overhaul our speaker system, which now features their handmade world’s first tube-powered ribbon loudspeakers. For this event, Audioism will also be bringing in special hi-fi equipment to provide the most excellent experience.
And the listening party is accompanied by a presentation? What can people expect to learn?
We’ll be discussing the album and it’s significance at the time of release, as well as Stevie Wonder’s involvement in the D.C. Civil Rights movement and the creation of MLK Day. We’ve welcomed D.C.-based music journalist Marcus Dowling (BYT, VICE, Pitchfork, GRAMMY, Complex, Washington City Paper). to provide his take on the record and its enduring legacy. We’ve got a few more tricks up our sleeve. You’ll have to come to get the full experience.
Great! Wanna go? Well you’re in luck!
We’re giving away A PAIR OF TICKETS to this Sunday’s show! Tryna hop on that?
TO WIN, comment below with your favorite CLASSIC COMBO and we’ll choose a winner and hit you wit dem tix. What are some classic combos of note? Obviously, in this case, an old record and new speakers is a winning combination. But there’s a shit ton more to pull from here. Peanut butter and jelly? Ham and cheese? Mac and cheese? Tell us your favorite combo and why, and you can scoop these free tickets!