About the songs on the CD, 'Every day is sunshine'

Added on Sunday 26 Sep 2010

It's raining outside

Written by myself and Pat; a simple song which might just be about the weather, or something more sinister. Recorded in Sammy Horner's broom cupboard of a recording studio. I was just down for a visit, and while there tried to record another song I had, but wasn't getting anywhere with it. Sammy asked if I had anything else; 'It's raining outside 'was the anything else I had. I didn't know the words and hadn't actually sang it all the way through before.

I emailed Pat for the words and we recorded it that afternoon; the entire song was done and dusted in about 2 hours. Sammy gave Paul a phone and he came round and added the Baratone guitar part and the other guitar flourishes; Sammy added bass and backing vocals and had lots of input in the arrangement.

During the recording I suggested to Sammy that I talk rather than sing the vocals to make it more interesting, which he wasn't keen on. So I sang it - however the talk idea ended up being recorded; me talking them as if the words were from the script of an old movie. This makes it 'pass remarkable' - I think this must be part of the 'unusual' production techniques mentioned by Folk,blues and beyond. However - It turned out real good.

Down by the Wildwood

The song was a collaboration between myself and the hugely talented jazz singer Carol Kidd MBE (notable for supporting Frank Sinatra when he came to Scotland). It's a true story about when Carol met gypsies in the forest when she was a wee girl. Guitar by Graham Mackintosh, magical fiddle by Nashville's own Kurt Baumer, backing vocals by Chris Barrett and piano by 80s country blues legend Dexters Slim. It's very groovy and one of my favourites.

You don't know

Written the day after attending a great gig by Glasgow country and honky tonk blues band The Carlton Jug Band; I came up the road feeling I needed to write a new song. You don't know is not country and it's not honky tonk and it might be about recovery from some kind of mental anguish. That explanation makes not sense - but as David Coulthard (ex F1 driver) says, 'it is what it is'. The music is influenced by 60s folk guitarists.

Every day is sunshine

A relationship song. Dinny brought the song alive with her singing; I liked the song but wasn't sure of my recording of it - until Dinny came along and transformed it. More unusual production techniques bend it away from folk towards folky pop.

Can't catch the butterfly

Tell me you love me again

The finished lyrics were the third set of lyrics I wrote in response to Pat's original lyrical hook. I had written the guitar part previously. The guitar style influenced is by ragtime guitarists - who were in turn influenced more by piano players than guitar players. A whimsical take on love.

Don't go pissin' in the wind

Advice from your very own Glasgow philosopher; 'self -help' in song form. It uses the 12 bar blues structure - but made interesting by staccato finger-picking guitar, Dobro slide guitar, Glasgow style shouty lyrics - and strange timing on the hand-claps and tamborine. Described by Folk, blues and beyond as 'the real gem (on) the album'.

You always looked for the good in me

This is a love song for lovers who stay together. It evolved slowly and was re-arranged at least 5 different times including three key changes and many different rhythmic feels. This is the song I blogged about writing on myspace when I described the songwriting process; that was just the start - it had a long journey after that.

Scott MacDonald provides backing vocals to great effect, Dexters Slim provided 60s Americana organ sounds and blues harmonica. The non-repeating melody (not for a while anyway); makes it a grower rather than an instant draw.

Black sky blues

A song about the American dust bowl. Uses the blues structure loosely (i.e. there aren't twelve bars - and every verse is a slightly different length): as absurd as it seems, the arrangement is influenced by the techniques of dance music mixing and sampling. It sounds like a thumping heavy blues though; with the chunkiest slide guitar riff from Dexter Slim you are ever likely to hear. More unusual production techniques to upset some and delight others.

Beneath these Scottish Skies

A live recording (apart from one small vocal overdub on the middle eight) by the bluegrass band The Moonshiners. Recorded in Jimmy Moon's front room. I wrote the music for the intro, the main verses and chorus and the middle eight at separate times and sent them to the Mooonshiners - who proceeded to put them together and rehearse them in a different order. So when I turned up to record it - it was chaos. It took us a while to get it together.

Phil Sakerski tells the story that the problem was that I turned up without a hat on (hats are my fetish) and that it was only after they found an old Fez for me to wear that we were able to do a successful take of the song.

It's as simple as it gets; for me it's a mixture of Hank Williams and the Glasgow folk songs they taught when I was in Primary school in the 60s; a bit kitsch. Good fun though.

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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

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