"Cackalack's songs are dirt road visits with the neighbors outside your car window." -Tim O'Brien
"This Byrd flies." -John Gorka
What is Cackalack?
Esse Quam Videri. “To be, rather than to seem.” The only one of the original thirteen states without a motto, in 1893 North Carolina finally adopted one that implies, “We don’t need a motto. We Are.”
Jonathan Byrd is a seventh generation North Carolinian. "Cackalacky" is vernacular poetry for "Carolina." Cackalack was recorded live in a converted garage on a sunny afternoon in Toronto, Ontario with no headphones, no listenbacks, no separation, and no overdubs. Recorded by gold and platinum record-producing Ken Whiteley, and accompanied by Canadian super-pickers from The Foggy Hogtown Boys and Creaking Tree String Quartet, Cackalack is Byrd's homeland manifesto.
Having recently made Rich Warren's "50 Most Significant Songwriters of the Past 50 Years" in the Chicago Tribune blog, a list which includes giants like Bob Dylan, John Prine, and Joni Mitchell, Jonathan lives up to these accolades on Cackalack with the most ordinary of materials: Chicken wire. Concrete. Roofing tacks. He takes us to real, everyday places. The Outer Banks, where wild ponies still run. Rockwell, where Byrd sings a song to his father's ashes. And 95 South, a great river of humanity that brings us rolling back south from a hard tour.
Cackalack is non-fiction, in other words. Lived-in songs, recorded live by an all-acoustic cast in an afternoon. Being, rather than seeming. Byrd's best work to date.