An accomplished country, folk, and Americana trio out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Stray Birds was formed by multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Maya de Vitry, Oliver Craven, and Charlie Muench, all three of whom had classical training (de Vitry and Muench actually first met in high school orchestra), but were also exposed and influenced by the music of the Carter Family and Bill Monroe, as well as the classic melodic pop of the Beatles and the re-imagined traditional Americana of the Band.
Following college, Craven was playing in a bluegrass band with Muench called River Wheel when he met de Vitry, and he and de Vitry began sharing each other's songs, soon graduating to open mikes and busking together around Lancaster. The duo recorded an EP, Borderland, in a basement studio in 2010, and Muench appeared as a bassist on a few of the tracks. Stray Birds were now essentially intact, and the trio hit the studio again, independently releasing a full-length album, the self-titled The Stray Birds, in 2012. The album was much praised by the critics for its sharp songwriting, gorgeous harmonies, and well-played arrangements. An EP, Echo Sessions. which consisted of covers of songs by Townes Van Zandt, the Louvin Brothers, Jimmie Rodgers, Nanci Griffith, and Susanna Clark, appeared in 2013. A second full-length, Best Medicine, arrived from Yep Roc in 2014, and featured songs written by di Vitry and Craven, who, while they tend not to co-write, have writing styles that are definitely complementary. For 2016's Magic Fire, the band branched out in more ways than one, working for the first time with an outside producer (Grammy-award winner Larry Campbell), bringing in guest musicians, replacing Muench with drummer Shane Leonard, and collaborating on the songwriting. ~ Steve Leggett