Flyinshoes Review

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JON BYRD —ROUTE 41 (Long Leaf Records)

www.jonbyrd.com

 

 

Traditional country performer, singer-songwriter Jon Byrd is one of the finest exponents of spit and sawdust country coming out of the East Nashville’s scene and beyond. It will come as no surprise to those familiar with the scene he has some fine musicians back up his work. For this record, Alabama born and raised Byrd has gone for interpretations of some of his friends’ songs, both by those back where he started in Atlanta and those in Nashville. Although he is a songwriter himself, and a good lead guitarist too. In fact it was as a sideman he came to Nashville, a Telecaster guitar slinger. Playing on records by Davis Raines & His Faders, Texan country singer, Buck Jones, Americana act Stephen Simmons and Suzette & her Neon Angels.  

 

Produced by Byrd and guitarist Thomm Jutz (Mary Gauthier etc)—it has Fats Kaplin (fiddle, pedal steel guitar, mandolin), Steve Conn (piano, organ, accordion), Duane Blevins (electric bass), Mark Fain (Upright bass) Justin Amaral (drums) plus Shannon Wright, Sara Beck and Milan Miller on backing vocals. The record leaks country soul. The kind found shared over a beer in dim lit barrooms as stories are told and hearts opened. Byrd’s superb handling of instantly addictive, fiddle warmed “George Jones (Has Never Sung About My Girl)”, sad-eyed tune “Walk On By” and with swirling steel guitar and wonderful shuffling rhythm “I’ll Play Angel” plus the reflective “Would You Like To Dance”. One of two songs bearing the name of songwriter, Adam Wright it glides, effortlessly from start to finish as fiddle; steel and harmony vocals escort the song home.

 

Others of note include poignant pieces, one concerning a bartender and of him recollecting his troubles “In The Back Of Your Mind” (Mando Saenz, Will Kimbrough). The other being “Going To Montgomery”, where to the sound of brooding guitar, piano he speaks of Martin Luther King Jr and Hank Williams Snr and of his girl. “Wine” (Peter Cooper, Baker Maultsby) is another, finely penned and performed country song, and with Kaplin and Steve Conn playing a big part it is an out and out winner. Hard core (and Americana) country fans need to check this guy out and also watch for dates of a top-class act. 

 

                                                                 Maurice Hope   

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Year 2016

1
Levi Parham
90 pts.
These American Blues
Music Road Records
GC,JBO,TK
2
Martha Fields
86 pts.
Southern White Lies
Independent
BP,BH,FB,JAB,RW,SP
3
Carter Sampson
75 pts.
Wilder Side
Independent/CRS
AN,CRS,JB
4
Anna Elizabeth Laube
65 pts.
Tree
Ahh...Pockets! Records
DH,NC
5
Michael McDermott
60 pts.
Willow Springs
Pauper Sky Records
BK,MM
6
Shovels & Rope
54 pts.
Little Seeds
New West
 
7
Robert Ellis
53 pts.
Robert Ellis
New West Records
DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
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JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
Zilker Park Records
HDB,ML
10
Lucinda Williams
46 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
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EM
11
Buddy Miller & Friends
44 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
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12
Wink Burcham
43 pts.
Cleveland Summer Nights
Continental Song City
 
13
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
42 pts.
C&O Canal
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BR
14
Brent Cobb
41 pts.
Shine On A Rainy Day
Elektra Records
HH
 
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41 pts.
Mosey
New West
CVL
 
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41 pts.
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HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
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BM
18
Drive-By Truckers
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ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
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38 pts.
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LM,SZ
20
John Prine
37 pts.
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Oh Boy Records
FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
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Red House Records
GS,HD
22
Richmond Fontaine
35 pts.
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Décor Records
FCE
23
Gillian Welch
34 pts.
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LK,PR,TJ
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33 pts.
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25
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AL
 
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