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Blossoming local musician, OSU alumna, taking flight

Courtesy of Michelle Maguire

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Singer-songwriter some days, “low bono” lawyer (a lawyer who makes low-cost representation available) on others, 2005 Ohio State Moritz College of Law graduate Eve Searls does a lot.

Searls’ act, Bird & Flower, will be performing at the Grandview Heights Public Library at 7 p.m. Thursday for the Music in the Atrium series.

The composition of Bird & Flower’s music often varies. While chiefly a solo act, she sometimes employs her friends to create an ensemble that uses a combination of a ukulele, a banjo and a lap steel guitar, among other instruments. Recently, Searls has added an omnichord, an electronic instrument similar to the autoharp, to the mix.

“It’s kind of a democratic instrument,” Searls said. “Anybody can learn to play it really easily. It’s based on a traditional folk instrument, but sounds like a cheesy ‘80s keyboard.”

Bird & Flower plays “quiet, weird electronic music mixed with more traditional folk music,” Searls said.

Searls said she is glad to be a part of the Columbus music scene.

“It’s great,” Searls said. “There’s a lot of really good bands. There’s little pockets of folk music where I tend to hang out, but there’s a lot of different types of bands playing. It’s not all indie rock.”

All-ages shows at “non-traditional venues” such as Wholly Craft!, a craft and art shop in Clintonville, are what Searls said she prefers to play.  

“I actually prefer shows that aren’t centered around alcohol,” Searls said.

Searls said she doesn’t have a specific genre that influences her, but she has a strong interest in other female musicians. Some of her influences include Amy Annelle, The Softies and Dolly Parton’s early work.

“I try to listen to mostly female music,” Searls said. “There was a point when I was a teenager when I realized all I listen to is dudes and I was like, ‘I gotta make a change.'”

Searls has been writing songs since age 17, but it was not until 2007 that she began playing her music on stage. She has since played with Columbus bands Super Desserts and The Black Swans.

“Eve is such a great singer that she is able to sing melodies and notes that other singers can’t find,” said Jerry DeCicca, co-founder of The Blacks Swans, in an email. “Her voice reminds me of a singer from the 1940s, and her lyrics are smart, but never without being emotional. One of the reasons why they’re a great band is because they aren’t afraid to find new sounds to express themselves.”

Searls said she hopes Bird & Flower will be releasing a new record sometime next year. She said she is glad to enlist others to help make music with Bird & Flower.

“It’s not just me alone in my apartment anymore,” she said.

Canaan Faulkner, coordinator of adult programs and web content at the Grandview Heights Public Library, said Bird & Flower is the kind of group the library enjoys having perform for the Music in the Atrium series.

“(We want) to be kind of a community center that includes learning and leisure,” Faulkner said.

The GHPL has concerts like this to support local arts.

“I think the best most people can hope for is to be able to afford to tour and be able to keep making music rather than to make a bunch of money on a major label or something,” Searls said. “I’d be happy to just be able to keep making records.”

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