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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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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