|Studio album by|
|Released||July 1, 1994|
|Genre||Christian alternative rock|
|Producer||Derri Daugherty, Steve Hindalong|
|The Choir chronology|
Speckled Bird is the eighth studio release, and seventh full-length studio album, from Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released in 1994. The album is largely a remixed and reworked version of the independent Kissers and Killers project with an additional five tracks.
When major Christian record labels Word Records (the parent company of Myrrh) and Sparrow Records shuttered operations in Southern California in the early 1990s and consolidated their efforts in Nashville, Tennessee, that city – known primarily as the center of country music – quickly became the center of contemporary Christian music as well.  Because of this, a number of musicians and production personnel who were friends of the Choir had relocated to Nashville, and now the band was faced with the same decision.  With Word ending its support for the Choir's label Glasshouse, relocation presented greater financial opportunities for the band, now that lead singer and guitarist Derri Daugherty and drummer and lyricist Steve Hindalong had become seasoned producers of other artists, and saxophone and Lyricon player Dan Michaels had gained record label management experience with Glasshouse during its brief tenure.  The cost of living in Nashville was also less expensive, and the city was a more central location for touring. Because of this, Daugherty, Hindalong and Michaels made a permanent move to Nashville in late 1993, arriving on Halloween. 
The transition was difficult.  Marital relationships were strained, as band members were completely unprepared for that winter’s ice storm.  The new location of Neverland Studios was in a bad part of town, and the band had to deal with vandalism and stolen gear.  Michaels, who was mourning the end of a relationship, was forced to live in the new studio and take showers at the local YMCA.  After leaving their high-profile association with Myrrh, and failing to secure a mainstream record deal with Kissers and Killers, the band "returned a little sheepishly to the Christian fold they had all but ignored for three years," and signed a one-album deal with R.E.X. Records. 
Speckled Bird would be the first project that the members of the Choir worked on after arriving in Nashville, and they flew in bass guitarist Tim Chandler for additional writing and recording sessions.  This birthed three additional songs: "Never More True," "Spring," and the title track. Hindalong would write "Like a Cloud" based on an unused guitar part from the sessions for Kissers and Killers, and "Wilderness" would be the fifth new track for the album. Because Hindalong was self-conscious about his vocal performance on "Let the Sky Fall," that song was not included on Speckled Bird. 
The central image featured on the front of Speckled Bird was a female model portraying a spotted bird chained inside a wooden box. While the band "went for it at the time for its dramatic effect,"  it was retrospectively called "unfortunate cover art" by Mark Allan Powell in the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music.  The image was soon quietly updated with additional feathers to cover the slightly revealing nude shot of the model's buttocks.
Speckled Bird was released on July 1, 1994 on CD and cassette.  The title track was released to Christian radio, and reached #2 on the Christian Rock charts on September 26, 1994. 
Critical response at the time was positive. Liz Liew, writing for Cross Rhythms, said that "Derri's prominent tremelo fuzzy guitar effects provide the underlying thread throughout the album, which often takes precedence over his vocals." While critical of the remix of "Yellow Skies" because it replaced "the original guitar breaks with vocal interludes," she praised "Like a Cloud" as the highlight of the album for "its trippy, ethereal washes of keyboard, masterful orchestration and tremelo guitar." 
Retrospectively, Tom Demalon at AllMusic was less enthusiastic, giving the Choir one of the lowest ratings of any of their albums on that platform. Claiming that "there's just precious little on Speckled Bird to attract the listener's attention," he added that "the music is plodding and rather aimless, rarely achieving the evocative moodiness that the group seems to desire. Lyrically, the band's Christian leanings are subtly incorporated, but they often overly rely on repeated images such as flowers, clouds, and birds to define situations and relationships."  Other critics have been more positive, particularly regarding the lyrical content, with Barry Alfonso pointing out that Speckled Bird "returned to themes of spiritual struggle and awakening on tracks like 'Gripped' and the title song."  Powell, in the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music, was even more favorable, writing that the "album is beloved by critics as one of Christian music's ironic high points," and added that "themes of transcendent faith, hope, and love abound, amidst the realization that 'everyone travels in the wilderness.'" 
All lyrics by Steve Hindalong and all music by Derri Daugherty, unless otherwise noted.
|1.||"Speckled Bird"||Derri Daugherty, Steve Hindalong, Tim Chandler||3:44|
|3.||"Like a Cloud"||2:06|
|5.||"Weather Girl"||Dan Michaels, Daugherty, Hindalong, Chandler||6:19|
|7.||"Never More True"||Daugherty, Hindalong, Chandler||3:27|
|8.||"Spring"||Daugherty, Hindalong, Chandler||3:55|
|11.||"Love Your Mind"||Daugherty, Hindalong, Chandler||5:24|
|12.||"Kissers and Killers"||Hindalong, Chandler||Daugherty, Hindalong, Chandler||2:55|
The Choir is an atmospheric Christian alternative rock band currently comprising Derri Daugherty on guitar and vocals, Steve Hindalong on drums, and Dan Michaels on saxophone and lyricon. Long-time bassist Tim Chandler died in 2018, and guitarist Marc Byrd was the fifth member of the band between 2005–2014. As of 2022, the band has released 16 full-length studio albums, three EPs, five live albums, one single-disc compilation, one retrospective box set, and is still actively recording new material.
Voices in Shadows is the first studio album by Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released in 1985.
Shades of Gray is the second studio release, and first EP, by Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released in 1986. All five songs were later included as bonus tracks on the CD release for Chase the Kangaroo.
Diamonds and Rain is the third studio release, and second full-length studio album, from Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released in 1986. It is the first release under the band's new moniker after dropping "Youth" from their name.
Chase the Kangaroo is the fourth studio release, and third full-length studio album, from Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released in 1988. Considered by critics to be one of their finest albums, Chase the Kangaroo is listed at No. 50 in the book CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music.
Circle Slide is the sixth studio release, and fifth full-length studio album, from Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released in 1990. Considered by some critics to be the band's best album, and even called "one of the best Christian albums ever made," Circle Slide was listed at No. 53 in the book CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music. This would be the final album the Choir would record for Myrrh Records.
Kissers and Killers is the seventh studio release, and the sixth full-length studio album, from Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released in 1993. It was their first release after leaving Myrrh Records, and according to drummer and lyricist Steve Hindalong, represented a major turning point for the band: "We went independent after this, and never were on a label where there were expectations of any kind of a 'ministry' or anything like that."
Free Flying Soul is the ninth studio release, and eighth full-length album, from Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released in 1996. It earned the band its first industry recognition with a Dove Award win.
O How The Mighty Have Fallen is the 11th studio release, and tenth full-length studio album, by Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released in 2005. Guitarist Marc Byrd officially became the fifth member of the band with this album.
Mutt is an album by the band Lost Dogs, released on Fools of the World and Lo-Fidelity Records in 2004.
Neverland Studios is an American recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee owned and operated by musician and songwriter Derri Daugherty. The studio is not connected to Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch.
Wide-Eyed Wonder is the fifth studio release, and fourth full-length studio album, from Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released in 1989. This would be the first studio album with new bass guitarist Robin Spurs, and would mark the band's first attempt to cross over to the mainstream market.
Flap Your Wings is the tenth studio release, and ninth full-length studio album, by Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released in 2000. It earned the band its first Grammy Award nomination.
Love Songs and Prayers: A Retrospective is the first compilation album from Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released in 1995.
Burning Like the Midnight Sun is the 12th studio release, and 11th full-length studio album, by Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released on June 29, 2010.
The Loudest Sound Ever Heard is the 14th studio release, and 13th full-length studio album, by Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released on May 15, 2012, although prior to that date, a rough mix of "The Forest" was made available to those who pre-ordered the album via the band's official website.
Peace, Love & Light is the 15th studio release, second EP, and first digital-only album by Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released on November 27, 2013. This is also the band's first Christmas-themed release. As a "stretch goal" in the Choir's Kickstarter campaign for their 2014 album Shadow Weaver, this EP was provided exclusively to funders who pledged $60 or more.
Shadow Weaver is the 16th studio release, and 14th full-length studio album, by Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released on April 9, 2014. This album was funded by the band's original Kickstarter campaign launched in late 2013, which also generated the band's first Christmas release Peace, Love & Light. This was also the last studio album from the Choir to feature Marc Byrd.
Bloodshot is the 17th studio release, and 15th full-length studio album, by Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released on June 1, 2018. This album was funded by the band's PledgeMusic campaign launched in January 2017, which also generated a remastered and reissued release of Wide-Eyed Wonder.
Deep Cuts is the 18th studio release, and 16th full-length studio album, by Christian alternative rock band the Choir, released on April 23, 2021. This album was funded by the band's Kickstarter campaign launched in February 2020, and was their first album of new material without contributions from long-time bassist Tim Chandler, who died in 2018; bass duties were split between session player Chris Donohue and bassist Steven Mason from Jars of Clay. The double-disc vinyl version includes five additional tracks that were previously released as digital singles in 2019 and 2020.