Jon Byrd: Alabama native who writes classic country songs + Ed Hopwood

Date/Time Sun 18 Feb 2018 7:45 PM

Price Online - £11 + £1.10 booking fee; On The Door - £11


Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Jon Byrd lived his formative years in small town America, one county over from the birthplace of legendary country artist Hank Williams. When Jon was just eight years old, his dad was diagnosed with TB and began singing the immortal Jimmie Rogers’ song “TB Blues” all around the house. That same year Jon saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and his obsession with the musical tension between country and rock ‘n’ roll was born.

After touring nationally with jangle-pop purists Tim Lee and the Windbreakers in the 1980s, the 1990s saw Byrd studying for a Ph.D. in American Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. He also formed the hard country band the Ratchet Set as a musical outlet for his love of old trucking songs and two chord honky-tonk gems.

In 1998, after 7 years of teaching, Byrd relocated to Nashville where he quickly made a name for himself as a singularly authentic country singer and Telecaster slinger. As a side man, Jon had been long been performing his own compositions, but now he was ready to showcase his singing and song-writing in earnest. In late 2004 he débuted his band Byrd’s Auto Parts, a rambling collective of in-demand players who set about fleshing out Jon’s original material and an album of the same nam followed in 2007. The music reflected Byrd’s eclectic tastes in country/roots music and his fun-loving performance style and was well received in the music press.

In 2011 DOWN AT THE WELL OF WISHES was released and he embarked on his first European tour. Though 2014 was a year of full-time touring, Jon also managed to record a new record of 10 songs in the Outlaw tradition of celebrating the great writing of unsung song-writing hero pals. Each song on ROUTE 41 is penned by a dear friend.

And now… DIRTY OL’ RIVER, Jon’s fourth solo album, harkens back to his first Auto Parts record: up-tempo country songs, lots of pedal steel, and some really strong country covers. If you’ve been left cold by what passes for country singing and song-writing these days, you’ve found the right guy. Ultimately, Jon brings music lovers of all stripes out to hear great country songs sung and played with heart and soul. He’s a little more accomplished now, but he’s still that little kid playing for the home-town crowd.

The first video is by Jim Colvin, recorded at Café D’Art, Formby. The second is by Jack W Zander, recorded at the 5 Spot, Nashville: