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Yardbirds Return with <i>Birdland</i> - 2003-05-14

In the 1960s, British band The Yardbirds first introduced audiences to their mix of melodic rock and blues.

The group launched the careers of three of the most influential guitarists in rock - Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. The Yardbirds have just released Birdland, their first new album since 1968.

The Yardbirds made their mark in rock history and on the charts with tunes such as Shapes of Things, For Your Love, Heart Full Of Soul and many others.

The band's new album Birdland, contains some remakes of their classic hits, along with new material and a tribute to their late member, Keith Relf.

Steeped in blues, and rhythm and blues, The Yardbirds' signature sound featured raucous guitars, and the early use of distortion and feedback. The guitars were augmented by singer Keith Relf's uninhibited harmonica style.

One-time Yardbirds members such as Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page helped redefine the role of the electric guitar in rock music.

Founding members Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty have added some new, young players who help update The Yardbirds' sound for the 21st century.

"To make our first album in so many years has been a lasting ambition of ours," said Jim McCarty. "We wanted to do our original songs and our new ones with modern production while preserving the essence of our sound. It was a labor of love and we're grateful to everyone who helped, especially our guest musicians."

Guest artists on Birdland include Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Doll as featured vocalist on For Your Love, along with former Yardbird Jeff Beck, Brian May of Queen, former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, former Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan member Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, and fusion guitarists Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.

The majority of Birdland was recorded at Steve Vai's Mothership Studio in Los Angeles, and is released on his Favored Nations label.

"To me, it doesn't sound like we've been away for 35 years," said original Yardbird Chris Dreja. "The Yardbirds are still a high-energy band, and that comes across on this album."

The Yardbirds will start a U.S. tour on June 1 at the House of Blues in Boston. They promise that a collection of guest artists will be joining them throughout the tour.