With a musical timeline dating back to her early childhood, Laura Baird is an exceptionally talented multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, best known for her projects with her sister, Meg, as The Baird Sisters, and guitarist Glenn Jones. Baird’s own sound stems from the Appalachian folk tradition, and she connects to it via family lineage--her great-great uncle I.G. Greer’s folk recordings for the Library of Congress are a large influence. Also woven into her sonic influences are classical composers like Bach and Satie, and modern day musicians such as Opal and Yo La Tengo.
For her upcoming debut solo album, I Wish I Were A Sparrow, Baird plays odes to the tradition from which she learned to play, combining Appalachian balladry, the roughness of old field recordings, and a dose of dreaminess and solitude that captures the distinct environment of sleepy central New Jersey. This is where Baird departs from tradition, leaving the communal origins of folk music and capturing the singular self. An amalgam of old and new can be found in the overall sound, as well as the lyrics, with half of the songs on Sparrow, including "Dreadful Wind and Rain" and "Pretty Polly", being passed down from the folk tradition, and the other half, including "Wind Wind "and "Love Song From The Earth To The Moon" coming from Baird’s own hand. While the most salient part of her last Baird Sisters project was the melding of familial voices and various instruments, Baird’s solo effort is centered around the combination of her virtuosic banjo playing and prominent but airy vocals.