Blog categories

Category: recording

Collaboration, Songwriting and Remixing

Lots of interesting projects going on at the moment; collaborations with people more talented than myself, new songs getting written and old songs getting remixed (free downloads at foot of this page).

* I'm working with Robert Ruthven and Lawrence Alexander on our 'Bearpit Brothers' project. It's been slow but we are getting there. Two songs are more or less finished, another is being recorded right now and there is yet another that Robert is working on an arrangement for. Every one of them sounds great to me. I think you'll really love them. If you can imagine a mix of 1950's Rock n Roll, and Roy Orbison 60's Pop you'll not be that far away.

* I recently had a fun day out recording at the magnificent Newbattle Abbey (build in the 11th century) with the Scottish Folk band, The Linties. Morag, Iyaah and Stuart did backing vocals on a new song of mine. The nicest most generous people you could meet; and great singers too. :-) Check them out at

* I've also been learning some new recording techniques and finding out how to make more 'avant-garde' music with classical composer Cluny Strachan. Cluny teaches composition at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as well as composing music for film and television. A smart and talented man.  

A New Song: Promise That We'll Meet Again

I've written a new song called, Promise That We'll Meet Again. I wrote it as a gift to the Linties for helping me out; though reading the lyrics it's clearly connected to my mother, who passed away just before Christmas. We miss her - and always will.

Lyrics for Promise That We'll Meet Again:

Take these broken beads from my hand
Take this golden thread
Carry them with your wherever you go
and promise that we'll meet again

Spirals and spires and chapels of stone
Brothers and sisters our own
the choir is singing for those who have gone
they sing
promise that we'll meet again
promise that we'll meet again.

hold in your hand the stones and the  earth
try to follow the tracer of love now gone
talk of a silence that's deep in our heart
Peter and Rose Christina and John

So take these poems I've written for you
take these lessons learned
And we'll walk down the old road where the blackberries grow
and we'll promise that we'll meet again
and we'll promise that we'll meet again
yes we'll promise that we'll meet again

You can listen to the song here:

Songs to download

I've worked on a couple of new mixes of some songs from previous album. Feel free to download them.

Both 'Black Sky Blues' and 'Every Day Is Sunshine (I can relate to a man who's a sinner)' are available to download from my Reverbnation page:

You will need to register to download them.

Speak soon,

Click this link to download two free tracks plus a unique ringtone

Recording update

The work on my next album is gathering pace; with lots of help from friends and family. My brother Peter has been providing backing vocals and unusual percussion on quite a few tracks. He added a beat to the song, 'Fancy wooden box' by hitting his settee with a mallet! He also added some cowbell like sounds using an old Fray Bentos tin; not sure that will make the cut though.

There's home recording and then there is 'recording your home'; perhaps we are now straying into the later. These latest percussion instruments are added to my earlier use of a CD case, pen and shoe box to add a beat to 'Rain don't fall'.

You might be thinking this is all going to sound terrible - but I assure you - it's sounding great. This will be my very best album of songs yet. I can't wait to let you hear it.

All the best,

Click this link to download two free tracks plus a unique ringtone

Learning to record at home

I've been spending some time trying to figure out how to record my songs at home; the idea being that I'll do the recording in my own time - them book a studio to get them mixed, by someone who knows what they are doing.

With this in mind I've bought myself some fancy new recording software called 'Logic studio' - which apparently is the software to have for Mac users (that's me).

Complicated stuff - this Logic. My first setback was discovering that I can't install it on my laptop because I don't have enough space on the hard disk; a full install is about the same size as the entire capacity of the disk! Hmmm ... wonder if that's an excuse for a new computer? Probably not.

Luckily I was able to install it on my iMac, so I've been playing with it over the last few days - and recorded a new song to help me figure out how it works. The first thing I've learned is that recording is the most 'jargon infested' subject I've ever come across - and it is also deeply complex (or is that just me?).

It's a far cry from recording into a cassette tape machine with a plastic microphone from an electrical store; which was the cutting edge for me when I used to visit my friend Derek to record our imaginary radio shows. I'm not sure what age I was then - probably about 12. Not sure if it armed me with enough experience for my latest attempts.

I'll post my first results on Myspace shortly.

All the best,
Jim p.s. Thanks to David Kusher for the mention on Spiral Earth:

And later..

A little update to my previous post about recording music at home. So far I haven't really got anywhere, other than having learned some new words. The most important new word I've learned is 'latency'; here is a definition, "a synonym for delay, is an expression of how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another." (,,sid183_gci212456,00.html).

In practice this means I sing into the microphone and then there is a delay before I hear myself coming through the headphones; which gives me a headache and makes it impossible to sing along to the music. I'm a long-terms user of Apple computers - and a fan - but I think this is the first time I've actually been made depressed by a computer problem.

I couldn't find a solution in the manual or online - so I booked a slot with an Apple 'genius' at the Apple store in Glasgow. I'm just back. They couldn't sort it - though suggested a work-around. when I got up the road and tried it the work-around didn't work.

I'll keep you posted. So far it's bleedin' crap this home recording thing.

All the best,

Click this link to download two free tracks plus a unique ringtone

» Click here to get two free tracks and a free ringtone.

Enter your name & email
address and get your free
copy of Down by the Wildwood

You will be added Jim's acoustic music adventures mailing list.

What the critics said about 'Every day is sunshine' by Jim Byrne.

  • "a heady and exotic mix. " Q Magazine.
  • "..full of cinematic turns of phrase, dressed up in alluring melodies delivered by some of the most respected players on the modern-day Celtic Folk scene." UNCUT
  • Album of the week on Celtic Music Radio
  • Added to 'God's Jukebox' on Radio Two Mark Lamarr show
  • "A beautifully produced collection of Americana" The Daily Record. Four Stars
  • "Great record... a complete, compelling listen. ", Adam Levy (Songwriter/artist, guitarist with Nora Jones)
  • "ten beautiful, atmospheric songs..", Folk, Blues and beyond
  • "a fresh, original album", Eilidh Patterson (singer songwriter, vocalist with Beth Nielsen Chapman)
  • Sounding like Johnny Cash never left Folsom prison...meditations on life that'll soon sound like old friends. Spiral Earth

Buy from iTunes today