Saturday, February 11, 2012

Jon Byrd
Down at the Well of Wishes
Longleaf Pine Records

Alabama born Jon Byrd up and moved to Nashville by way of Atlanta’s Redneck Underground and has since been loosely affiliated with a talented group of singer-songwriters based in East Nashville, and rightly so.  One of Byrd’s songs appeared on the RedBeet Records 2006 compilation Music From East Nashville Vol. 3 and he recently contributed vocals on a track for Eric Brace and Peter Cooper’s Tom T. Hall tribute album I Love: Tom T. Hall's SongsOf Fox Hollow. But while many of the others in this collective are known to dip a toe or two into the river of classic country, Byrd takes a running leap and dives in head first. From the retro font across the front of the cover to the “stereo” banner along the top, this could have been a Capitol release in the late 60s or early 70s. The nine songs clocking in at 37 minutes would have fit nicely on two sides of a vinyl record, too. But don’t get me wrong: this is no period piece. These tunes are as timeless as they are timely. Over a backing of pedal steel and twangy lead guitar, Byrd’s vocals are as warm as good bourbon and go down just as easy. All the songs are strong, well constructed pieces, but my favorite is Alabama Asphalt, a bluesy, Jimmy Rodgers-style tune with slinky lap steel licks by Pat Severs. For country music as it should be, give a listen to Down at the Well of Wishes.

Curtis Lynch
February 2012

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