I just had this excellent concert lineup land in my lap. No work for me to do except say yes (and invite you). Jonathan Byrd from North Carolina and Corin Raymond from Toronto are on an improbable tour of the US together. Improbable because Corin Raymond rarely gets out of Canada and because together they are an astounding lineup. They come to Chicago to play our living room at _____________ in Oak Park on Tuesday, Feb 22nd at 7pm. We’ll pass the proverbial hat and will ask for a $15 donation per person. Please rsvp to cbonnell (at) gmail.com and I’ll provide you with the address. We’ll get started on time and get you in and out at a reasonable hour since it’s a school/work night.
Jonathan Byrd has been around the scene since his debut record in 2001 but it wasn’t `til his followup two years later called The Waitress that his music started to create a stir. In fact he won the prestigious New Folk competition in Kerrville, TX soon after the release of The Waitress. Seven years later, with a bunch of records in between, Jonathan has just released Cackalack (which I guess is a term of endearment for someone from the Carolina’s). Over the past decade he has explored genres as diverse as bluegrass and folk, honky-tonk and blues. He can sing a song that is very personal and then follow it up with a historical narrative based on civil war manuscripts. Plus I’ve got it on good authority that he doesn’t and won’t wear Birkenstocks. So there’s that too.
Press for Jonathan:
‘Sing Out!’ magazine says Byrd is, “a songwriter of exceptional talent… with the stark storytelling of the finest traditional balladeers.”
Tom Paxton said “What a treat to hear someone so deeply rooted in tradition, yet growing in his own beautiful way.”
“Jonathan Byrd is one of the Top 50 songwriters of the last 50 years.” – Rich Warren of WFTM in the Chicago Tribune.
“This rootsy North Carolinian may be the most buzzed-about new songwriter in folkdom. He displays John Prine’s gift for stark little songs that tell big, complex stories, Guy Clark’s lean melodicism, Lyle Lovett’s wry mischief, and Bill Morrissey’s knack for the revealing image.” Scott Alarik in the Boston Globe
Corin Raymond has been a more recent discovery for me, but ever since I heard his song “There Will Always Be A Small Time” from his 2009 release of the same name I’ve been hooked. I’ve told numerous people and all who will listen on Twitter, Facebook, and my blog that I think it’s the song of the year, as well as a veritable anthem for a whole segment of the music industry. The song one ups “The Weary Kind” by Ryan Bingham from the film Crazy Heart by going into glorious detail about how, despite apparent commercial success, a singer songwriter can thrive by writing songs of such grace and intellect and performing them with passion in every roadhouse and parlor. It’s the idea that music in and of itself is a powerful force. I know that sounds a little over the top, but listen carefully below and see if you agree.
Press for Corin Raymond:
From Exclaim!: “His second solo album, There Will Always Be A Small Time, has a more direct country/folk approach, and it’s an impressive work. Raymond has a robust and serviceable voice (John Prine comparisons often come his way) but his true strength is as a songwriter. Within Canadian roots music circles word of that is quickly spreading, as other artists have begun covering his tunes.”
From The Basement Rug: “Corin’s magic appeal comes from a unique blend of vulnerability with a high energy personality. It’s something you see sometimes in comedians, but rarely in musicians. Comparisons to John Prine are worthy, but I also hear Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and the Canadian flare of Stompin’ Tom Connors. One thing is for sure, he aims to entertain and he succeeds. He writes and sings about things everyone knows about – the things you see and hear every day.”
From Teenage Kicks: “There Will Always Be A Small Time” celebrates shared moments in small rooms, a million stars of varying brightness shining “when the nine-to-fivers go to bed”. Raymond sees a rising star (“Nearly everywhere I go I hear you on the radio”) and while sending well wishes, also leaves out the welcome mat for a return “now and then”. He’s ready for his big break (should it come), but if it doesn’t come he can still play the local every Thursday night. It’s a woe-is-me tale without the woe, just the belief that the song will always endure, no matter when and where it is sung.
Songs (right click and save as):
The Waitress – Jonathan Byrd
The Cocaine Kid – Jonathan Byrd
There Will Always Be A Small Time – Corin Raymond
Blue Mermaid Dress – Corin Raymond