Thursday 17 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Time to fly

Time to fly

Country-flavored folksinger Jonathan Byrd lets his varied influences take wing.

Chris Parker December 7th, 2011

Jonathan Byrd
8 p.m. Thursday
The Bottle Cap barn
3600 Rogers Drive, Edmond

Jonathan Byrd describes himself as a North Carolina picker and a Texas songwriter. It’s as apt a description as any, as his music unites the narrative influence of Texas country artists like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt with flat-picked country gone decaf, the slower pace allowing folky melodicism to waft forth.

He’s tipped his hat to those two principal inspirations on his last two albums, including last year’s “Cackalack.”

“I have a short attention span, but I like for all of them to sound like an album, so it’s good for me to pick themes like that,” said Byrd.

About a decade ago, he realized all his short-order jobs weren’t enabling music so much as standing in his way, so he took the plunge with his solo debut, “Wildflowers,” and started touring like a gypsy. “Not being able to really do anything else helps,” he said. “But in the end, it’s also spiritual. It’s a belief that the universe it wouldn’t allow me to fail at something I’m really good at, if I just apply myself. ... I can’t not do it. There’s nothing else that will satisfy me like this.”

In some ways, his recent discs were an exercise to tease out the essential elements of his fiddle-stomp style, which includes a dusty, windblown pallor; a downbeat manner; Bakersfield swing; and pure hill music. But he’s also aided other artists, like Nashville singer/songwriter Diana Jones, country-soul act Radio Soul and worldmusic duo Dromedary.

This whole idea of collaborating has seized Byrd, particularly in the quick, down-and-dirty method as he did with Jones. Indeed, during a four-month tour this spring, he recorded two separate albums in Canada and Texas when he had an open day.

“If you look at the careers of, say, James Brown, wherever they were on tour, they would hook up with a studio from time to time and just go record a bunch of stuff,” he said. “The people that play on the record really define the sound of the record. The artist is only one instrument. If I like their sound, there’s no way I can go somewhere else and reconstruct the sound they make, so I make the record there with them.

“It didn’t start this way for me, but the first time I ever did it, I thought, ‘That was incredible, because what we captured was real performances by humans. It’s got all this blood in it. It’s got all this heat.’ And I’ve done it that way ever since.”

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