Folkus project to feature Jonathan Byrd

staff reports 08/28/09
What: a Folkus Project concert

Who: Jonathan Byrd

Blurb: Eclectic, substantive songs, rich with contemporary imagery and textures yet rooted in tradition

Where: May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society
3800 East Genesee St, Syracuse,
just inside the Syracuse city limits from Dewitt)

When: Friday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m.
Admission: $15

Artistís website:
Artistís MySpace site:

About: Jonathan Byrd
The Folkus Project is pleased to open its 2009 fall season with innovative singer/songwriter Jonathan Byrd. The prototype of the minstrel and storyteller, Byrd blends traditional styles and modern sensibilities as he spins his tales of love, life, and death in America. His stunning instrumental work and soulful singing, full of surprises and spontaneity, give each of his live performances its own magic. Byrd constantly evolves in new musical directions and each incarnation has proven to be masterful. His latest CD, "The Law and the Lonesome," sounds as if Hank Williams and Townes Van Zandt met on the high plains and told ghost stories. Full of desperate people and their dark familiars - crows, coyotes, and sudden storms - these new songs bring together the best of Byrd's southern roots and the increasingly strong influence of Texas.

"Jonathan Byrd doesnít sing songs; he sings truth." -

Byrd's work is always evolving, but his traditional roots are always there in his simple, poetic storytelling and classic flatpick guitar style. Balancing originality with a profound respect for acoustic musical traditions, his songs manage to be completely unique and as comfortable as an old favorite. Rooted in the mountains of his home state, North Carolina, they sound as if they were pulled from a long-lost ballad collection. Byrd's lyrics are inventive; his images and metaphors refreshingly original. This is creative, compelling music, drawn from old school string music but crafted with global influences.

"What a treat to hear someone so deeply rooted in tradition, yet growing in his own beautiful way." -- Tom Paxton

Singing hymns at his father's Southern Baptist church exposed him to one of the most important strands of American Roots music; Southern Gospel. In 2000, he took the Grand Prize in the North Carolina Songwriter's Coop Song Contest in his hometown. Inspired, he began to tour and recorded his first CD, "Wildflowers." His skilled playing, rich narrative storytelling and clever lyrics gave his simple tales of love and death a surprising impact. In 2003 he won the prestigious New Folk competition in Kerrville, Texas. The same year he released "The Waitress," a critically acclaimed recording that continued to illuminate his maturity as a songwriter. Three more CDs followed, each strikingly different from the others, breaking new ground in roots music while calling out the ghosts of rock 'n' roll past. "Everything I do is a departure from what I've done," says Byrd.

"This rootsy North Carolinian may be the most buzzed-about new songwriter in folkdom. -- Boston Globe

The Folkus Project is a nonprofit organization that fosters and promotes traditional, contemporary, and multicultural folk music in Syracuse and Central New York. Between Labor Day and Memorial Day each year, approximately 30 shows are presented. In addition, occasional workshops are sponsored in coordination with concert appearances by artists who do such things. To learn more about Folkus and the upcoming concerts, visit their web page at Click on Join Folkus Fans to sign up to receive brief e-mails during the Folkus season (fall, winter, and spring) alerting members of upcoming concerts.

TAGS: Jonathan Byrd,The Folkus Project,minstrel and storyteller,May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church
EDITION: The Eagle

Rating: 2.0/5 (9 votes cast)

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