Forget the violin. Forget the classical background. As troubadour Andrew Bird puts it, “At this point the violin just happens to be the instrument I have on hand to make the sounds that I hear. I like to abuse it and pull as many sounds out of it as I can.” Bird is a masterful and intuitive singer/songwriter, and what he does while performing— alternately plucking and bowing his violin, then immediately sampling the results, layering the sounds with guitar, whistling, glockenspiel and vocals—bears little resemblance to what most people might expect. It’s only one of several devices in his arsenal of instruments, melodies, and imaginative wordplay.