Born in Birmingham, Alabama, JON BYRD lived his formative years in small town America, deep in the piney woods of south Alabama just 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. Less than two years later he was conscripted into the drum corps of his tiny high school’s marching band and played Booker T. and the MG’s “Green Onions” while the majorettes held the cymbals and danced. There was no turning back.
After touring nationally with jangle-pop purists Tim Lee and the Windbreakers and Birmingham’s Primitons in the 1980s, the 1990s saw Byrd attempting a Ph.D. in American Studies at Emory University in Atlanta… while becoming a central figure in Atlanta’s storied Redneck Underground music scene as lead guitarist for the seminal and legendary country band Slim Chance and the Convicts (Letters to Mama, 1993, and Twang Peaks, 1996). 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 and no diss, Byrd helped country traditionalist Greta Lee record her first full-length record This Ain’t Over Yet. In 2001, he co-produced and again handled lead guitar duties on Lee’s follow-up You Must Be Present to Win. That same year, Byrd relocated to Nashville, Tennessee where he quickly made a name for himself in Music City as a singularly authentic country singer and Telecaster slinger recording with such fine artists as the soulful Davis Raines, Texas country singer Buck Jones, folk-rock songwriter Stephen Simmons, and the rockabilly whirlwind Suzette Lawrence.
But the move to Nashville took an unexpected turn. As a sideman, Jon had been long been performing his own compositions, but now he was ready to showcase his singing and songwriting in earnest. In late 2004 he debuted his band Byrd’s Auto Parts, a rambling collective of in-demand players who set about fleshing out Jon’s original material. The recording BYRD’S AUTO PARTS followed in 2007. The music reflected Byrd’s eclectic tastes in country/roots music and his fun-loving performance style. And the critics loved it: “A terrifically accomplished, versatile country singer,” reported No Depression magazine.
Since then, Jon’s songs have appeared on three Red Beet Records compilations. A duet with Amelia White, “Morning Song,” was highlighted on that singer’s 2009 recording, Motorcycle Dream.” In the fall of 2010, Jon’s composition “Silent Night” was the first single from Master Sessions, an Eric Brace and Peter Cooper recording that also featured steel guitar legend Lloyd Green and Dobro hero Mike Auldridge.
After a standing-room-only show in October 2011 at Nashville’s legendary Station Inn, DOWN AT THE WELL OF WISHES was released to radio and he began his first European tour. Over the next two years Jon put together two more international tours. 2012 also saw Jon taking the lead vocal on “How to Talk to a Baby Goat” on the Grammy nominated I Love: Tom T. Hall’s Songs Of Fox Hollow, a tribute to Hall and that legendary Fox Hollow recording. This recording also included Buddy Miller, Patti Griffin, Jim Lauderdale, Lloyd Green, Duane Eddy, and Bobby Bare, and Tom T. himself!
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 un-sung songwriting 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. Jon’s originals “I Get Lost” and “If Texas Is So Great” will be heard for years to come. If you’ve been left cold by what passes for country singing and songwriting these days, you’ve found the right guy. Call it country, Americana, roots-rock, folk, or what have you, JON BYRD delivers––honestly. 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 hometown crowd.
More info at http://jonbyrd.com/
FOOD PROMO: Ticket holders for this event are entitled to a 20% discount on food purchased on the show date.
Advance tickets £8.50 stbf from Skiddle. Buy online here. Over 18 only.