Few artists better exemplify the term chamber pop than violinist, whistler, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird. Born in the small agricultural community of Elizabeth, Illinois, Bird took up the Suzuki method for violin as a boy and eventually completed a bachelor's degree in violin performance from Northwestern University. His first solo album, Music of Hair, was self-released in 1996. In 1997, he joined the Squirrel Nut Zippers just in time to release their blockbuster Hot releases, though he left the band shortly after. His work with the Zippers and countless other cameos didn't distract from his solo career though, and he released four more records -- 1998's Thrills, 1999's Oh! The Grandeur, 2001's The Swimming Hour, and 2003's Weather Systems -- before the minor commercial breakthrough of 2005's The Mysterious Production of Eggs. In 2007, Bird's eclectic chamber pop became the black sheep of blues label Fat Possum records, when the label released Armchair Apocrypha.