Jon Byrd – All Your Mistakes
This singer flirts with the country & western genre but never fully sinks his teeth into the western. That would result in a more cliched, corny traditional dip which Byrd avoids. His performance is more of a deep & delicious showcase with music largely forgotten by younger singers today. Jon Byrd (vocals/acoustic guitar) has a sincere vocal. It skates through rather simple but loyal melodies. A little George Jones here, a little John Denver there & lots of Jimmie Dale Gilmore tones.
What makes the music magnetic is its lack of similarity to the current crop of country themes of George Strait, Garth Brooks, or Clint Black. Instead, Byrd spices it up with a just below-the-surface outlaw creed & sparkling instrumentation. Example: Johnny Paycheck’s song “It Won’t Be Long, and I’ll Be Hating You” uses clever turns of phrases without trying to be cute.
Produced by Joe V. McMahan (electric/acoustic guitars) Jon’s distinctive voice embellishes 10-tracks on his 5th CD All Your Mistakes (Drops Oct 20-Longleaf Pine Records). It’s not always wit & twisted tales of typical country kindling that burn. “Why Must You Think of Leaving,” co-written with Shannon Wright is a potent ballad. An entirely different weave from average country ballads & therein lies the skills of Mr. Byrd.
Despite performing in a straight aimed country manner Jon Byrd manages the extremity of the song. It never gets too down in the mud & manure but bristles with spirit. They become absorbing (“City People”) & it’s not easy to take tried & true music & reshape it. But Byrd does. “I’ll Be Her Only One,” is a page torn from the Willie Nelson vocal book but it’s not an imitation — just a feeling.
The beautifully rendered pedal steel (Paul Niehaus) song “Woman, Sensuous Woman,” was written by Gary Paxton (he worked with Skip Battin as Skip & Flip & had hits with “Cherry Pie,” & “Betty Jean”). Skip went on to be a member of The Byrds & Paxton started a record label Gar-Pax that issued Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s massive novelty hit “Monster Mash.”
There isn’t much added to the old Ian Tyson folk song “Four Strong Winds” or the old Elvis hit “(Now & Then) There’s a Fool Such As I.” The more traditionally rendered country tunes seem more appropriate for Byrd.
Highlights – “Golden Colorado,” “It Won’t Be Long, and I’ll Be Hating You,” “Why Must You Think of Leaving,” “City People” & “Woman, Sensuous Woman.”
Musicians – Shannon Wright & Amelia White (harmony vocals), Andrea Zonn (harmony vocals/fiddle), Steve Conn (acoustic/electric pianos), Chris Donohue (bass), Bryan Owings (drums) & Chris Carmichael (strings arranged/performed).
Color image of Jon Byrd (right) & Paul Niehaus courtesy of Gina Frary Bacon. The 37-minute CD @ Bandcamp & https://jonbyrd.com/
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Song Premiere: Jon Byrd “Junior and Lloyd”