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Release the Sunbird

Queer-friendly, melodic pop from Zach Rogue and Co.

“Jameson and sarcasm,” laughs Caitlin Gutenberger from the alley behind St. Paul’s Turf Club when asked about her favorite tour vices. After signing on to play guitar and sing in Rogue Wave front man Zach Rogue’s new project, Release the Sunbird, Gutenberger has the daunting task of not only playing in a “side project,” but taking over for the original vocalist on the new record, Come Back To Us.

“This has been confusing because the lady who sang on the record’s name is Kate Long and my name is Cait-LIN,” Gutenberger muses, taking the misidentification in stride. “I tried really hard at first to get all of those parts accurately, but things naturally evolve as you’re playing them live.  We learned how to sing together. I feel like we have our own special thing live.”

Rogue agrees, praising both Gutenberger and fellow touring guitarist Jameson Swanagon, while defining the direction of the new band.

“I want it to have a living room vibe,” Rogue says of Release the Sunbird’s live show. “With Rogue Wave, it’s like dynamics and jumping around and teetering and falling over and being on the edge of falling apart. This is a little more intimate.”

“It really is like you’re playing in a living room,” agrees Gutenberger. “There’s a bunch of people sitting around having some cocktails and you’re like ‘Check this out!’”

Their set can only be described as “cozy.” With sparse, thoughtful instrumentation and warm vocal harmonies, Come Back To Us is a kind of musical comfort food, a panacea to soothe away the world of worries and conjure images of crackling fires and over-stuffed couches, a vibe Rogue nurtured by recording the record in the sleepy town of Bloomington, Indiana.

“I felt really inspired. I wanted to make a pastoral record,” says Rogue. “Bloomington doesn’t really change. The natural beauty, peace and quiet. Every morning I would walk about a mile to the studio and all I heard were birds tweeting.”

“It’s been inspiring to think about the different textures you add to songs,” agrees Gutenberger on the new music. “Challenging, but a really great experience.”

“I feel like our music is inclusive,” nods Rogue. “It’s not hip edgy, it’s just melodic and it has a sensibility where I feel it opens its arms up to everybody.”

Open your arms up to Release the Sunbird’s new album, Come Back To Us at