Barnyard melodies have been a part of old time and bluegrass music from the earliest days. Tunes like Arkansas Traveler, Chicken Reel, Turkey In The Straw, and Cluck Old Hen are emblematic of this style, some using a sort of musical onomatopoeia to mimic the sounds of the creatures that would populate the world where rural Americans lived during the 20th century.
Now Larry Cordle has applied his substantial songwriting skills to this effort with a new single called Yardbird, a common epithet for the humble chicken. It’s one he wrote with his good friend Larry Shell, a lark of a song that he says they had a blast creating.
“I had told my best friend and most frequent co-writer Larry Shell the title of this song several years ago, but we could never seem to get a start on it. While traveling to the IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC, I believe in 2015, I started humming this little melody that became the chorus. Suddenly…the words, that eventually became the chorus, popped right in my head! I picked up my cell phone and quickly recorded it before I gave myself a chance to forget it. I pulled off the road and sent my little rough phone recording via text message to Shell. He sent me back a smiley face, so I knew he liked it. The very next time we got together that autumn, we finished Yardbird while laughing our rear ends off. I hope you enjoy this little piece, which tells the story of a chicken’s demise, my grandmother Polly’s way, all the way through dinner on Sunday during my childhood.”
Yardbird is available to radio now through AirPlay Direct. It will be included on Cordle’s next album, Tales From East Kentucky, in June from Mighty Cord Records.