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Mama - Jonathan Byrd

Mama, you know I done wrong.
I never go to church.
I'm always smoking reefer
and I'm bound to get hurt.

I never get tired of the road.
You never get no sleep.
As long as people dance,
your whiskey is free.

When I'm in the city
y'know it's hard to find smoke,
but if you live in the country,
you best give up all your hope.

When I'm in the country,
I can pay my bills,
but if you live in Richmond,
they don't let you keep no still.

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wildflowers is the 2001 debut album by Jonathan Byrd. The songs are mostly original songs with a few traditional tunes. Here he mixes contemporary singer-songwriter storytelling with Appalachian folk roots. There is even a murder ballad; "Velma" is a song about serial killer Velma Barfield whose victims included Byrd's own grandfather. Sing Out! says, "[Jonathan Byrd's] songwriting melds the lyricism of Celtic music with the stark storytelling of the finest traditional balladeers."

Arthur Wood of Folkwax says that Byrd's "Ashe County Fair" is certain, in time, to become a "folk classic." Byrd explained to Wood: "When I started writing it, I didn't know the girl was going to die."

Byrd says that he learned to play in the alternate guitar tuning DADGAD during two visits to Ireland: "For a personal challenge, I wrote and recorded my entire first album [this album] in that tuning, bringing it into the Old-Time, Bluegrass, and Country idioms." The album includes a couple of instrumentals that allow Byrd to show off his flatpicking skills. Sing Out! described the sound of the album as, "a wonderfully spare collection, allowing the warm expressive vocals of Jonathan and his strong guitar to carry most of the weight of the arrangements." Byrd plays a number of vintage Martin Guitars on the album including a 1936 Martin D-28, a 1937 sunburst D-18, and a 1934 D-18.


from Wildflowers, words and music by Jonathan Byrd

Buy Wildflowers here!

updated: 9 years ago