Jonathan Byrd and The Pickup CowboysMay 30, 2015 | 0 comments
Jonathan Byrd is a North Carolina flatpicker and a Texas songwriter, a Gulf War veteran and a preacher’s son, and an award-winning songwriter whose songs you’ve probably heard, even if you haven’t heard Byrd sing them. Covered by Tim O’Brien, Steve James, Red Molly, Jack Lawrence, Melissa Greener and more, Byrd’s music will seem familiar to any Americana fan. A seventh generation North Carolinian, Byrd graduated from high school and spent four years in the Navy, landing Marines in Liberia, carrying supplies to Kurdish refugees, and recording songs on a four-track in his downtime. Jonathan returned to the gritty indie music scene of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and fronted several rock bands before he rediscovered Old-Time and Bluegrass music at weekend festivals. Byrd quit the bands and hit the road solo in 2000, flatpicking and singing new songs in an old style. A tip from a friend led him down to the Kerrville Folk Festival, a dusty ranch where he discovered the rich Texas songwriting culture and made it his own. The word began to spread in 2003, when Jonathan won the festival’s ‘New Folk’ songwriting competition, a milestone for Americana’s most influential artists: Steve Earle. Lucinda Williams. Nanci Griffith. Lyle Lovett. Byrd broke the record for CD sales at the festival, and has played there nearly every year since. Byrd’s 2008 release, The Law and the Lonesome is the fruit of this interstate cross-pollination, what might have happened if Townes Van Zandt had made a record with Doc Watson. Tamara Kater of Canada’s folk mag Penguin Eggs called The Law and the Lonesome her “album of the decade.” Cackalack is the newest Jonathan Byrd release, an homage to his home state. Recorded live in a day while on the road, Cackalack hit #1 on Roots Music Reports folk radio chart, #22 on the Americana chart, was the #91 Americana album of 2011, and made John Platt’s “Best of 2011,” along with strong international airplay and a dozen other “best of” lists. Most recently, Jonathan won a 2011 SESAC Americana Music Award beside Bob Dylan, Seth Avett, Hayes Carll, Jim Lauderdale, and Colin Brooks from The Band of Heathens.
visit his website: http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/