The Latebirds is a roots rock band from Helsinki, Finland. The band was founded in 2000 by singer/songwriter Markus Nordenstreng, drummer Janne Haavisto, bass player Mikko Mäkelä, and guitarist Miikka ‘McGyver’ Paatelainen. Guitarist Jussi Jaakonaho replaced Miikka Paatelainen in 2004. Organ player Matti Pitsinki from Finnish instrumental rock group Laika & The Cosmonauts was added to the line-up in 2005.
The Latebirds music has been described as alternative country, roots rock, folk rock and power pop. The band sites influences such as Bob Dylan, The Band, Neil Young, The Beatles, Townes Van Zandt, Rolling Stones, The Byrds, Black Sabbath, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Cheap Trick, The Who, The Stooges, Tom Waits, MC5 and Johnny Cash.
The band has released three albums to date. Fortune Cookies (2003) was recorded in Finland with producer Lasse Kurki and it included a special guest appearance by legendary New York guitarist Marc Ribot. The band’s sophomore album, Radio Insomnia (2005) was co-produced by Kurki, Ken Coomer and Charlie Brocco. The album was recorded in Upstate New York and Nashville and included guest appearances by MC5-guitarist Wayne Kramer, The Posies singer Ken Stringfellow, keyboard player Benmont Tench from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Wilco-members John Stirratt and Pat Sansone.
Grammy-winning producer Jim Scott offered to produce the band’s third album. Sessions for Last Of The Good Ol’ Days took place at Jim Scott’s Plyrz-studio in Southern California. Most of the new tracks were captured entirely live in the studio. Guests in these sessions included Wilco-guitarist Nels Cline, singer/actress Minnie Driver and Benmont Tench.
The Latebirds also recorded new tracks at Levon Helm’s home studio in Woodstock NY. In addition to Levon Helm these sessions saw the band collaborate with Gillian Welch’s musical partner David Rawlings and singer/songwriter/actor -legend Kris Kristofferson. The Woodstock Sessions bonus EP is included in the same package with the new album.
Last Of The Good Ol’ Days will be released worldwide in 2011-12. Digital downloads are available on music sites like iTunes and Amazon.
The Latebirds have previously toured in the USA and Europe with artists like Wilco, Patti Smith, The Pretenders, Mumford & Sons, The Posies and The Jayhawks. The band has performed at international music festivals and conventions like Austin’s South By Southwest, New York’s CMJ and Berlin’s PopKomm. They have also appeared at famous film festivals such as Toronto International Film Festival. In 2006 The Latebirds were invited to support Wilco on their US tour, which included a date at Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium. This marked the first time that a Scandinavian band performed on the original Grand Ole Opry stage.