Written by Eddie Ferranti
The time worn phrase of “You can’t judge a book by its cover” can apply to many things in life. In the case of one Jonathan Byrd, an American singer-songwriter based out of North Carolina, you have to really dig into the book to see what lies ahead. His story consists of being labeled a folk singer where in 2003 he was a New Folk competition winner at the famous Kerrville Folk Festival where he actually set a record for CD sales. The dude looks country as all get out, but is as he says “ I’m a poet that rocks” which fits quite well if I do say so myself. The way he can slide from ballads to hit the gas rockin’ effortlessly is a pleasure to see live.
In very fluffy poetic fashion, JB had a small table with flowers in a small vase, candle and a freakin’ piggy bank up on stage setting the tone for an evening of from the heart tunes. Little did the crowd in attendance know that spooky scorching rock was coming along for the ride in his presentation along with tongue-in-cheek antics. Johnny Waken is like a human cartoon who backs it up with versatile and talented licks on mandolin, acoustic and burning psycho electric. Hell a mouth harp and scrub board were also employed by this animated ball of fun. Andrew Pressman provided a very steady stoic bass that kept the bottom filled nicely all night. He scanned across his many albums all night. Some plums from the 2014 release “You Can’t Outrun The Radio” were hand clappin’ “Poor Johnny”, killer guitar on “Big Truck Brought it”, mandolin jamfest with bass influx deluxe on “Starlight” and a tune written on skype creating the illusion of closeness “Close Enough to Touch”. From 2011’s “Cackalack”, “Chicken Wire” was a hoot complete with head pokin’ with his chin and dear to the heart “Father’s Day” was epic about his southern Baptist dad.
This down to earth fella is hard not to like for sure. His rootsey artistic story telling wrapped around the good sound this venue always delivers made for a true feel good experience indeed. The encore of “Do You Make Your Dreams Come True” coupled with “ham and eggie” Emelia” was sweet and cool. Nothing personified this seventh generation North Carolinian though then was “I Met My Baby at a Tractor Pull” where she dropped a hammer on my heart and soul ! How classic is that?! Byrd covers a lot bases in a gig and is worth your time to check it out no doubt…………..