Jim Byrne: folk, blues and country songwriting; Americana with a Scottish/UK twist
Christmas single: For we are born..
I have a Christmas single coming out on the 10th of December; it's a rootsy/folk/pop based sound and features the backing vocals of the traditional folk singers The Linties. The song is a bit unusual (not Slade) but it's got that 'winter time' feel and I think it's a cracker. Morag, Iyaah and Stuart of the Linties and my brother Peter - provide backing vocals. The vocals were recorded at Newbattle Abbey (built in the 11th century) which in itself makes it quite special.
Also available from my Bandcamp page - For we are born...
After a fantastically successful 'sold out' launch party at Bar Brel The Innocent is now available to the World. Buy it now in the website shop.
The Bluesbunny gives The Innocent four carrots "The Innocent is his best album to date...."
"echoes of Tom Waits at his sentimental best." Tom Fairnie of Foakies
"Congratulations Jim on a wonderful album The Innocent - having a wee listen now and am very touched by your sincerity throughout the album, Loving all the songs but really like Sand in our Shoes (loving your guitar playing too Jim) The more I play it, the more I'm enjoying it Jim, well done again for this musical masterpiece." Bernie Devlin
"A huge thank you to Mr Jim Byrne, recieved the album yesterday....Its superb beyond words!!!!!!! Alan Grant
"And after just 2 plays, a highly recommended album it is too." Mike Morrison of www.americanrootsuk.com
"Congratulations on your wonderful new album, Jim. Some lovely, chilled out ambient sounds on it, it contains your best songs yet." Ciaran Dorris Celtic Music Radio
Your cd is brilliant! sounds really great your voice is amazing ! People will love this album:) Steven Leonard
"I love 'Sand in our Shoes'... it's beautiful..." Linda Harnett
"Just listened to the new album, sounds fantastic. Deffo your best" Robert Ruthven of the Creeping Charlies
"Congradulations on the new CD Jim!!!!!!!!!! Absolutely amazing! "Helen St Helen
"I can thoroughly recommend this fabulous album - it's real chill-out music that gets right under your skin! Love it!! " Jane Fairnie
"Now and again though, an amazing new album from a guitar-based band will cross my radar, and I'm hooked. You will be too. Think of the gentler moments of Tom Waits crossed with Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan and you'll get a rough idea of his sound." Blair Millen in The Letter
"I can't get them out of my head. I think the whole CD is terrific - such a range of vocal and instrumental talent. The vocal backing is subtle and gentle, and the lyrics smooth and clean. I love the sharpness of the 'knife' on track 2! You've got a great voice, Jim and such a range, smooth yet at times gravelly! The variety of instruments is amazing, and I really go for Peter Byrne's whistling on track 10!" Moira Laws
"Love your new album Jim - I thought is your sound 'Laid back soul blues'" Pauline Keightley
"I'm absolutely loving this, Jim - (Sweeter than a Rose is a) great song!" Duncan McCrone MCPS in Scotland
"The Innocent is a fabulous album. Every song has its own story - wonderful lyrics - yet all together make a whole structure. It's all about life, experiences, expectations, memories, hopes and thoughts - it has all the seriousness and the humour perfectly combined. Sabine Kocem
The first album review has also arrived.
The Innocent by Jim Byrne reviewed by Tom Fairnie (Foakies)
The overall feeling of The Innocent, the latest CD by Jim Byrne, is of a singer songwriter determined to convey a contemplative mood rooted in a familiarity and respect for a broad range of musical influences that have been carefully listened to and absorbed. This is a gentle album whose mood carries you through some excellent songs that are all allowed to take their own time. There are themes of fate and destiny, confessional truth, love and friendship. Everything seems to be aimed at creating a mood where the listener is lured into drifting along with the songs. Jim’s voice is sometimes sublimated to this mood but that has the effect of making us listen a little bit more intently. Some of the songs almost approach meditations and the arrangements are perfectly prescribed. However, despite the serious delivery, there is also a homely feel to the songs that top and tail this CD as if Jim wants to remind us that he’s comfortable where he’s looking out from. Along with the inclusion of a tuba on one track there’s also a neat bit of whistling right at the end and a suggestion to me that Jim has a sense of humour that he allows to sneak into the songs as well.
The confidence of an experienced songwriter is demonstrated right from the start when Fancy Wooden Box, a bluesy song about fate, opens with an ominous drumbeat that is later countered by a perfectly appropriate loose vocal arrangement as the song develops. There’s an indication of intent from the feel of the song that is careful not to stray too far from the genre it acknowledges; rather it revels in it.
Whilst a tuba isn’t always what you’d expect to hear on a contemporary song; the arrangement for Two Empty Chairs is quite wonderful. There’s an echo of the music hall in this song that definitely appeals to this listener. This is followed by the standard, Satisfied Mind, which sits well alongside Jim’s own songs and this version doesn’t disappoint. That is followed by another cover, Thirteen, a song originally written and recorded by Big Star, which Jim sings with particular care and affection.
Sand In Our Shoes starts with the sound of the waves. A gentle lilting song that further emphasises the mood of the whole CD; one of wistful depths (if you can forgive the oxymoron). Whilst I could hear this song with a totally different arrangement, this CD is very much about atmosphere. It end with a slow fade out of the waves that leads into the sound of thunder and When You Bit Into That Apple, which seems to be a soul bearing song that ties some of the other themes of the CD together. Fate, confession and lines that approach the profound “When you bit into that apple / Did it seem sweeter than our love”.
This is followed appropriately by Sweeter Than A Rose, which reminded me of The Cowboy Junkies in terms of the arrangement and The Notting Hillbillies in terms of the vocals. An excellent mixture as far as I am concerned. Next up is a song called You Are A Good Friend OF Mine, which is a fine example of accessible song writing. The glockenspiel like accompaniment (it could be an autoharp) highlights a song that slowly grows on you.
Sleepy Head is a lullaby that demonstrates more than any other on the CD how inspired it is to let the song take its own time. There are echoes of Tom Waits at his sentimental best. The CD ends with When The Sun Shines On Me, which opens with a folksy guitar and ends with a neat bit of whistling. A great end to a CD where every track, every arrangement and every song seems to be measured and balanced to leave the listener with a satisfied mind.
Buy The Innocent now in the website shop.
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