“I didn’t come here, and I ain’t leavin’.” – Willie Nelson
This is perhaps the best way to describe the path that Brian Byrne took to country music with his new CD, Tailor Made (Kindling Music 2007).
In the early 80’s, you could hear country music fighting rock music on any given day coming from the family house he was raised in back in Steady Brook, Newfoundland. By the early 90’s, Brian had moved to Toronto, worked at a pizza parlour and made the final cut versus thousands of others for the job as the new lead singer for platinum selling rock band, I Mother Earth. And after 10 years, 3 records and hundreds of shows around the world, Brian began to find his way back to the stories, melodies and songwriting of his youth; back to country music. Simple, genuine and honest – just like home.
The first solo effort, Tuesdays, Thursdays & If It Rains (Kindling Music 2005) was Brian’s first attempt to bridge the gap between what he had done in the past, and where he was inevitably headed. It was a mix of straight up pop-rock with definitive country influences. The first single, “Far From Good” made its way to radio play lists across the country and the charts. It also earned him an ECMA and CRMA nomination, and established him as a solo artist in own right.
Brian toured the country bringing his new sound to very corner, and shared the stage with artists like INXS, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, Matt Mays and El Torpedo, Tomi Swick, Joe Ely, Collective Soul, Sam Roberts, and The Road Hammers.
Tailor Made is the next step on this musical journey. It’s a mix of outlaw country and dirty southern rock that rings true to Brian’s influences - Steve Earle, Gram Parsons, The Allmans Brothers, Willie, Waylon, Johnny, & Hank. It was written almost entirely on the road and tells stories of too much drink, late night characters, missing loved ones, and trying to find a way back home. Banjos, pianos, pedal steels, harps and beer-bottle slides all find their rightful place on this CD, skilfully co-produced by Brian and long-time friend and engineer Lorne Hounsell.
It’s a tasty stew of barn-burner rockers like the title track “Tailor Made” and “Mountain Feeling”, southern shuffles like “Beautiful You” and “Crazy”, and sweet melancholy country ballads like “Easy Come” and “Love You More”.
Byrne’s constant writing is a reminder to him that there is no end in sight on this trek through music. And he is quick to embrace all that comes along with it. “Sometimes it’s hard going from hotel to hotel, missing your family and spending 16 hours a day in a van with everybody’s stink. But it’s what I know, what I love and I’m not turning back now.”
Brian Byrne is sitting at the wheel, looking down a long, dirty, country road. He’s about to put his pedal to the metal and start another journey with a new band to play his new songs. And he’s alright with that.