Singing and writing songs since birth (well after the football and bike riding). Acoustic, bluesy contemporary folk and alternative country style songs of love, heartbreak and the Scottish weather. Jim is from Glasgow, Scotland.
On these dark Nights - the debut CD by Jim Byrne
New and old friends have brought their talents to the studio, making this a unique recording. Mick West, recently nominated for the award of Scottish Traditional Singer 2008, sings backing vocals on two of the tracks and Geoff Martyn, Peter Byrne and Robert Ruthven, all great players, add their magic to these beautiful songs.
The CD includes new songs and a bonus track, written and performed with Vivian Scotston and Madalaine Hart in Italy.
Feedback from people who bought the CD
"On These Dark Nights is a beautiful album; ideal listening for those cold winter evenings."
"Your CD has been played a lot in our house: it's fantastic!
One of my favourite albums this year!
I like it very much: fine guitar playing, a sympathetic voice and good tunes. it makes us feel good, my wife and I."
"The gig last night was wonderful. We are listening to the CD this morning over breakfast. Fab voice. Love the words."
"Said it before, say it again, the songs and geetaring are great"
Gill Maxwell, Director of Scottish Music Centre
"Jim's ballads are a blend of the familiar and the romantic. Tunes from the heart which you catch yourself singing (in my case in the shower only)"
"I have been listening to Jim's new album over the weekend and I think it is fantastic."
Dougie Wilkinson Clannan An Drumma
"..your lyrics are thought provoking and your guitar progressions are envied by me. Holiday song just a great song...love the guitar in that one. love the cd, keep the songs coming."
"...a truly inspirational collection of memorable melodies, 'the handles broken on my cup' being the most difficult to shake off, when other things require your attention!"
About the songs on the album
The Holiday Song
"This song was written to conjure up memories of my Scottish seaside holidays when I was a kid. I've tried to make the music evocative of the weather you tend to get on the Scottish coast; fresh and breezy. The spanner in the works is that when I was young I suffered from bad Asthma - so I was never feeling that well."
My Weather Girl
"My wife Pat loves watching the weather reports on the TV. A long time ago I wrote a song called, 'I'm at one with the weather man' in reference to this. This particular song starts from the same idea - and is a partner for the original song. The music reflects the styles of the blues pickers I was in awe of when I was a teenager. It is also marked out by its short length; about 1 minute 30 seconds."
Come dance with me
"A romantic ballad about music dance, dreams and travel. Part of it seems to be about a city dweller romanticising the lifestyle of the traveler; the apparent freedom and lack of inhibitions. It is all played out in the imagination of the stay-at-homer - looking for a way ahead in their own life. The lyrics where written in collaboration with Pat. I'd been playing the music for the song for a long time (perhaps 15 years) before the song was written."
As we step up this stage
"This is a song about the points in your life when you decide to make major changes - when you decide to take a different path."
The Handle's broken on my cup
"A heart-felt song about love and reconciliation."
"A song about those times when everything is good within you - and between yourself and your partner; you are exactly where you want to be - and who you want to be with."
"A simple country style song about young lovers - at the point where they are striking out on their own - breaking free from parents."
"A simple country song about love, friendship and sensuality."
On these dark nights
"I wrote this song after a trip to Orkney and specifically after meeting and playing with Hazel Wrigley of the fiddle and guitar duo The Wrigley Sisters. The music is inspired by Orkney and that meeting - the words are about love and commitment."
About Jim Byrne and the roots of the album 'On these dark nights'
Trip to Italy inspires debut album
After an Italian Road to Damascus experience in June 2008, Glasgow songwriter Jim Byrne has been forging a new path as a solo artist.
The music has been described as "contemporary folk, alternative country and laconic, acoustic blues'.
Having played with various bands in Glasgow and Clydebank (Jim's hometown) including: Loris, The Hemingways, The Primevals and Dexter Slim and the Pickups, Jim has many years' experience playing in rock and pop bands. He also achieved some claim to fame as the person who gave Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand his first gig, when he established Glasgow's cult music venue, The Kazoo Club in the late 80's.
An invite from Chris Difford of Squeeze
In May this year he was invited to participate in Chris Difford's songwriting workshop in Monestovole in Italy, where his enthusiasm for songwriting was reignited after spending a week writing and performing songs in the company of other artists including Mari Pellow, Linda Lewis, Vivian Scotston, Jan Biker and Madelaine Hart.
Going acoustic leads to new songs
Since his return has had a wonderful time performing as an acoustic artist, playing his new songs at gigs, folk clubs and festivals around Scotland. His reception as a solo performer has been remarkable with reviews in Spiral Earth.co.uk and 100% successful track record of being invited back to each venue.
And a debut album
The positive feedback and constant requests for a CD encouraged him to put together this album, where both new and old friends have brought their talents to the studio, making this a unique recording.
Mick West, recently nominated for the award of Scottish Traditional Singer 2008, sings backing vocals on two of the tracks and Geoff Martyn, another graduate of Monestovole, was keen to participate in the project, playing Wurlitzer on one of the tracks and recording some of the album tracks at his own studio.
Long time musical buddies also got in on the act and two other Clydebank fellows, Robert Ruthven and Peter Byrne, Jim's brother, lent their considerable musical talents to the venture as did Graham MacIntosh, who's much in demand as a guitarist.
About Jim Byrne
Jim Byrne is a singer and songwriter from Glasgow influenced by americana, folk, country and blues music (with pop thrown in for good measure).
He began his musical career in Dexter Slim and the Pickups - a popular live group in Glasgow during the 1980s. They were a punk country band; perhaps the only punk country band to come out of Glasgow (or anywhere else). They were great fun - regularly whipping their audience into a mess of drunken pogo energy; it's fair to say that Dexter Slim were a good accompaniment to a drink. They had many members over the years - former Pickups are scattered across more than one country. Early members include Derek McPherson (vocals), John Hardy (Bass) and Bruce Ferguson (Drums).
The usual stories relating to young bands were played out while playing with Dexter Slim and the Pickups, i.e. fights on and off the stage (and particularly in the van), band members over-indulging, camping out in promoters premises when the failed to pay, and failing to find venues they were booked to play; none of the band members having any sense of direction.
Dexter Slim and Pickups evolved into the Hemingways - a 90s bluesy guitar pop band. There is a Hemingways compilation to be found on Lastfm;. The Hemingways played more musically sophisticated songs. Briefly the Hemingsways became Hyperstar - releasing one CD of songs; songs that were a bit more awkward and angular than the Hemingways previous output.
Despite the comings and goings of different band members over the years, the mainstays of many of these musical lineups included the drummer Bruce Ferguson, bass player Peter Byrne and guitarist David Rogers.
After Hyperstar came Loris - indie rock music - and a return to being a great live band. Loris combined the talents of Jim, his brother Peter on bass and Bruce Ferguson on Drums - and played and recorded for five years. Plenty of good songs came out of the collaboration and plenty of great gigs.
When not playing in his own bands he occasionally worked as a guitar for hire - most notably in the Primevals - a 'rockmungous!' swamp rock band from Glasgow - who toured with the Cramps and put out numerous great albums; none of which coincide with Jim's time in the band - his contribution is confined to a few recorded songs and a single.
Which brings us up to date; Jim is now a solo artist which ironically means he collaborates with lots of different people as well as playing solo gigs. As a solo artist Jim has found his voice - and his stride as a songwriter and live performer. Jim's acoustic music is influenced by a huge variety of artists and eras - including pre-war blues players, contemporary folk, modern Americana and old-style country music.