Music

Unfit for Television

Birdcloud's Filthy, Funny Bluegrass

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IN MARCH, BIRDCLOUD learned what it's like to hear 2,500 people booing you. The crass, tongue-in-cheek country duo auditioned for this past season of America's Got Talent and were invited to San Antonio to tape a performance in front of an audience and the celebrity judges. Howie Mandel asked how they thought they could get away playing this stuff on a family show. Howard Stern said he's seen too much of this shock-rock foolishness before. Heidi Klum plugged her ears and said it was the worst thing she heard all day.

It didn't air on TV.

"We played second to last," says Jasmin Kaset, "so we were leaving at the same time as the audience, and got booed in the parking lot."

Kaset and cohort Makenzie Green are taking a break during a rehearsal in their hometown of Nashville. Kaset tells me about a new shot they just made up inspired by their song "Hello, Commode." As best as I can tell from the picture they posted on Instagram, a "Hello, Commode" shooter consists of Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness (a blend of apple, mango, spinach, and about 17 other ingredients), vodka, and a packet of Emergen-C.

It didn't sit well with Green. "She can handle her shots, but the second it hit her throat, there was puke all over the linoleum," says Kaset.

Partying hard is a common Birdcloud theme. So are body parts. They played "Damn Dumb" at the America's Got Talent audition, but the song wasn't their first choice. "That was the only one they'd let us play because it wasn't about our pussies," Kaset explains.

They've run afoul of YouTube as well. "Saving Myself for Jesus," a send-up of abstinence-by-technicality—and one that includes gems like "Honey, I'll roll over and let you poke me in the back door" and "my hymen belongs to Jesus"—got axed from the website.

But despite all of Birdcloud's tight-assed detractors, Green promises they've never cleared a room. "If we're talking a square room... we've probably cleared a right triangle before." And while they've had a video pulled from YouTube, that very same clip did quite well for them on Funny or Die. They just released a new EP called Effortless, and have earned a new fan in pop singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton. Green says Carlton came to a Birdcloud show in Nashville and ended up buying a ton of merch. Now she's taking the duo on tour with her.

"I don't know what it's like to be famous for 15 years or whatever," says Green, "but I think she's making the right choice."

[EDITOR'S NOTE: On Tuesday, November 5, Vanessa Carlton announced the cancellation of some shows, including the Portland date at the Alhambra Theatre, due to health issues and complications with her pregnancy. Birdcloud will instead perform at the (World Famous) Kenton Club on Saturday, November 9, without Carlton.]

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