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Scar Tissue

I joined the Navy before I left high school. I believe it's the only reason I was allowed to graduate.

 

In the Persian Gulf War, our ship delivered food to Kurdish refugees in Turkey. During the First Liberian Civil War, we brought Marines to protect our embassy in Monrovia.

 

The only time I saw our .50 caliber guns mounted, we were in the bay of a friendly Mediterranean country. Three days later, a mailboat went to shore. A few hours later we packed up the guns, went to shore, and got drunk. I never learned why we were there.

 

After three tense days of battle readiness, and with weeks of unspent pay and a ready supply of Ouzo, a Marine went through a window in a bar fight. A signalman came back to the pier with a new leather hat, boots, and a bullwhip, cracking the whip and rebel-yelling at the top of his lungs. A few sailors went down and carried him on board. While I was on watch on the quarterdeck, we heard a splashing sound and turned to see a disheveled chief petty officer pissing off the second deck directly onto the accom ladder- the stairs used to board the ship and, while in port, the most ceremonious place on board. None of us knew what to do because he outranked everyone on watch. Before we could take action, a couple of chiefs stepped out and dragged him back into their quarters.

 

We had never even gone to war. We had only been faced with the prospect of it for a few days. Running around the Mediterranean trying to help people deal with the effects of war, we had no idea how to deal with it ourselves.

 

Maybe things have changed since I was in the Navy. We were taught how to do our jobs. How to clean a m1911a .45 in the dark. How to put on a gas mask. How to fight fires. No one taught us how to deal with the aftermath in our minds. The women lost to too many days deployed. Not knowing your own children. The visions of friends killed by accidents in routine maintenance. Wishing they were killed by bullets instead.

 

When we were anchored off the coast of Turkey bringing food to refugees, I saw the bloated body of a Holstein cow floating in the water. The weather was still. The headless, limbless body hung around all day, bobbing slowly in the royal blue water.

 

I understood war in that moment as a natural disaster. That's still the way I process it. War happens. There is no positive outcome for the human race, no reasonable God to attribute it to, and no reliable forecast for when it will end. You might as well shake your fist at a hurricane. The best you can hope for is a short one. The most you can do is help other people deal with it. If you survive, you clean up and move on.

 

Think of veterans today as survivors. I was 19. On my ship, there were a few hundred more my my age and a handful of men to lead us. Now that I'm their age, I can't imagine the weight of their charge. We were just boys. Brave, strong, willing boys.

 

Survivors aren't always easy to get along with. Please remember that thick skin is scar tissue. We still want love, respect, and a good time. We want to know that what we did was important. Mostly we tried to help people. I never met a bloodthirsty soldier. Maybe they're out there. I just never met one.

 

All the guys I served with were straight out of high school like me. For many of us, it was the best of our limited options. We imagined that we were men. We survived. We became veterans.

 

Your fan

 

JByrd

 

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I Want to Believe

Pareidolia is perceiving a pattern in random data or unrelated events. Constellations, animal clouds, meanings in Bob Dylan lyrics- we’re so good at finding patterns that we make them up where they don’t exist. Pattern recognition is of course essential to human survival and pareidolia is the price we pay for it.

 

Different people see different patterns. One of the best ways to make sure you’re not fooling yourself is to try to see things the way others see them. If you were lying on the grass with a friend, and you both saw a cloud that looked like a dragon to you and a bunny to them, you would probably try to see the bunny. That’s the least amount of work we could do when more important things are at stake.

 

What are some examples of pareidolia from your own life? From the media you read? How have you fooled yourself?

 

****************

If it seems like we are going to Texas, it’s because we are. 

 

 

NOV 8 WED

Shipping & Receiving

Fort Worth, TX

NOV 9 THU

McGonigel's Mucky Duck

Houston, TX 

 

NOV 10 FRI 

Fischer Fest

Fischer,  TX

 

NOV 11 SAT

Cottrell Ranch

Dahlonega GA

*SOLD OUT*

 

Your fan,  

 

JByrd

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The Only Place Big Enough

A year ago, MC Hansen asked me if I’d like to record with a chamber orchestra in Denmark. I said yes. It’s a good thing I had no idea what I was getting into. 

 

I’m still a little jet-lagged. I met the orchestra musicians yesterday. I’m learning to translate “take it from the bridge” to “begin at measure 43.” We had a few hours to rehearse and now we have a few hours to record everything live in their concert hall. Then we play two shows:

 

OCT 27 FRI

KUMUS

Maribo, Denmark

 

OCT 28 SAT

Kulturwerk Norderstedt

Norderstedt, Germany

 

My life seems to consist entirely of these leaps of faith. I don’t know an artist who thinks they have art figured out. It’s not like making a cup of coffee. It’s like inventing a new beverage every morning. After trying a few dozen of the basic ideas, you’ve got to get pretty crazy to come up with anything new.

 

Besides jet lag and impossible deadlines, another thing I do to find new ideas is explore my previous work. What’s missing? I look at the map to find the ideas I haven’t visited.

 

This album is about love and time. I was reading an interview with Jason Isbell, and he was talking about his song If We Were Vampires. Jason says, “...to write a love song, you have to write a death song.” I’d go further. In order to think about life at all, we have to conceive of a beginning and an end. And of course Jason is right: life is the only time we have to love. 

 

The planets turn. Light rips across the void. On a tiny, insignificant speck of dust in a sock drawer of the universe, there’s a bit of moisture and a little creature that loves so much that it considers the infinite in others. We need eternity. It’s the only place big enough to put this feeling.

 

Light is universally equated with goodness, hope, holiness, and even the creative source of all things. The rules of physics say that light experiences no time or distance. Light is always here, now. I believe love is the same. Love exists in all dimensions equally, universal and immutable, whether you accept it or not. Time is essential for the existence of the matter we’re made of, but love defies time and even physical closeness.

 

Thanks to The Sentimentals for trusting me with this incredible project. Thanks to Ensemble Storstrøm for welcoming a few heathens into your sacred space. We are also fortunate to work with brilliant arrangers Dalal Bruchmann and Annie Rosevar, who live in California. We’ve been telecommuting across nine time zones for much of this year, and anyone who has traveled to another country to make an album will tell you: time is real.

 

Then again, what do I know? I’ve never done this before, again. See you on the other side. Your fan, 

 

JByrd

The sock drawer of the Universe.

The sock drawer of the Universe.

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Happy Indigenous Organisms Day

Columbus Day is a good day to remember why we are crashing billion-dollar spacecraft into planets rather than leaving them to crash on possibly life-harboring worlds.

 

Tardigrades are micro-animals that have survived at least five mass extinctions. They are found everywhere on Earth. Tardigrades can survive below the background temperature of the universe, above the boiling point of water, the pressure at the bottom of the ocean, and radiation that would kill us hundreds of times over. They can survive without food and water for thirty years, and have traveled on the outside of spacecraft and returned to Earth alive. Tardigrades eat, among other things, algae, which has also survived unprotected space flight.

 

The early universe may have been warm enough that planets didn't even need to orbit stars to have liquid water. Life certainly had everything it needed eons before the Earth was formed. Geneticists have speculated that life may have needed 10 billion years to evolve to its current state on Earth, which means it would have come here from elsewhere.

 

**************** 

 

I'll be invading Denmark next week, bringing infectious music and ruthless desire for gourmet licorice. I'm only playing a few shows. Mostly, I'm recording an album with The Sentimentals and a seven-piece chamber orchestra called the Danish Chamber Players. Thanks so much to The Sentimentals for finding the orchestra and the funding, and thanks also to Guldborgsund, DPA, and Koda for their financial support  

 

In all my reading about physics, it has not escaped me that the field of quantum mechanics was born in Denmark, which is how we know today that the entire universe is made of tiny building blocks called Legos™.

 

OCT 21 SAT

House Concert

Skibby, Denmark


OCT 27 FRI

KUMUS

Maribo, Denmark


OCT 28 SAT

Kulturwerk Norderstedt

Norderstedt, Germany

 

Your fan, 

 

JByrd

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Happy Indigineous Organisms Day

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Ghosts

"Just like your own wounds, the world's wounds will call for attention in increasingly devastating ways until they are acknowledged" -- Charlene deGuzman

 

"If he's a lone wolf, why are there so many of him?"  -- Ivan Coyote

 

The largest mass shooting in US history was not two days ago. It was December 29, 1890 near Wounded Knee Creek on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Nearly three hundred people were killed, including two hundred unarmed women and children. Twenty US soldiers received the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

 

Then there was the Colfax massacre  on Easter Sunday, April 13, 1873, in Colfax, Louisiana, when 150 black men were murdered by Southern Democrats. The state historic marker erected in 1950 says "On this site occurred the Colfax riot in which three white men and 150 negroes were slain. This event on April 13, 1873 marked the end of carpetbag misrule in the South." The marker still stands. 

 

The term "lone wolf" was coined by White Aryan Resistance (WAR) founder Tom Metzger in 1983. America has wounds we've never acknowledged. They will call for attention in increasingly devastating ways until we do. 

 

**************** 

 

Like every working musician, I couldn't help but be shaken by a massacre at a concert. Not the first one. Sadly not the last. 

 

Then the loss of Tom Petty brought home how much music means to us. We never met, but he taught me as much as any teacher and soothed me as much as any preacher. 

 

So I go back on the road teaching, preaching, and soothing. It soothes me just to see your faces every night, to know we share a love for music and meaning, and to shake your hands after the show. 

 

Johnny is taking a break for the month of October. I'll be appearing in-the-round in Black Mountain with my songwriting friends Chuck Brodsky and Jimmy Landry, and with The Sentimentals and a chamber orchestra in Denmark and Germany. 

 

OCT 7 SAT

White Horse Black Mountain

Black Mountain, NC

 

OCT 21 SAT

House Concert

Skibby, Denmark

 

OCT 27 FRI

KUMUS

Maribo, Denmark

 

OCT 28 SAT

Kulturwerk Norderstedt

Norderstedt, Germany

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Progress

I've been reading a lot about physics lately. My seven year old son asks good questions. He's teaching me a lot.

 

For most of history most people thought that different rules applied to the heavens. It was common sense. Enormous things don't float around in the air down here. The world of the Moon and stars seems very strange and special.

 

Isaac Newton wondered, What if the same rules applied universally? If the apple is falling, then the Moon is falling. Earth is falling. The Sun is falling. Newton explained the motion of planets and moons and apples perfectly, but that wasn't the big shift. The confirmation of universal laws laid a new foundation we could finally build an accurate model of the heavens on. Gravity was the first fossil in the archeology of the Universe. 

 

To make progress in our understanding of the world, we might have to challenge the common sense of our families, our countrymen, and even the thousands of years of culture and society that produced us. The weirder things get, the more potential there is for change. Chances are, we're all wrong about something that's been in the intellectual bedrock for a long time. Maybe forever.

 

Am I applying one set of rules to myself and another to others? Am I applying one set of rules to humanity and another to the rest of Creation? What am I absolutely sure of? Is old knowledge keeping me from understanding new information? 

 

Your fan,  

 

JByrd

 

**************** 

 

SEP 27 WED 9pm

SEP 29 THURS 4:20pm

IBMA World of Bluegrass

Raleigh NC

 

SEP 29 FRI

Transylvania County Library Amphitheater

Brevard, NC

 

OCT 7 SAT

White Horse Black Mountain

Black Mountain, NC

 

OCT 21 SAT

House Concert

Skibby, Denmark

 

OCT 27 FRI

Fuglsang Kunstmuseum

Maribo, Denmark

 

OCT 28 SAT

Kulturwerk Norderstedt

Norderstedt, Germany

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We Are Made Of Light

We're 99.9999999% empty space, a grain of dust exploded and then held together by massive amounts of energy. A kilogram of matter has more energy than hundreds of atomic bombs. A pair of shoes. A few potatoes. A King James Bible.

 

E=mc²

 

The energy of anything is: the thing's mass times the speed of light, times the speed of light again.

 

Multiplying a Bible times the speed of light seems totally whacko. It is whacko! The universe is so exciting.

 

Joules = 1 kilogram x 300,000,000 m/s x 300,000,000 m/s

 

joules = 90,000,000,000,000,000

 

A joule is a watt per second. If you divide it by 60 watts, a decent Bible can power your bedroom light for fifty million years.

 

**************** 

 

SEP 22 FRI

Deep Roots Music Festival

Wolfville, Nova Scotia

 

SEP 26 TUE

IBMA World of Bluegrass

Raleigh NC

 

SEP 29 FRI

Transylvania County Library Amphitheater

Brevard, NC

 

OCT 7 SAT

White Horse Black Mountain

Black Mountain, NC

 

OCT 21 SAT

House Concert

Skibby, Denmark

 

OCT 27 FRI

Fuglsang Kunstmuseum

Maribo, Denmark

 

OCT 28 SAT

Kulturwerk Norderstedt

Norderstedt, Germany

 

your fan,  

 

JByrd

 

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The Sphere of Vision

The universe we can see is 94 billion light years across. Now we're looking at the oldest light in the universe. We can't see any farther. There's no light from before the beginning, or what we think of as the beginning.

If you could go to the edge of the observable universe, you would be in a new sphere of vision 94 billion light years across. Looking back at Earth, all you would see is the radiation from the beginning of the universe, as it left the place where Earth is now. The universe began everywhere. There is no center.

We can never experience anything outside ourselves in the present. How far can you see? If you could look back at yourself, what would you see? Is it possible we all have a different and yet equally accurate sphere of vision? Is it possible that we're all in the center of a universe that is finite and yet has no boundaries? 

 "How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress." -- Niels Bohr, Nobel Prize in Physics 1922

 

Your fan, 

 

JByrd

 

 ************

 

SEP 16 SAT

Station Inn

presented by Merlefest and

Quicksilver

Nashville, TN

 

SEP 22 FRI

Deep Roots Music Festival

Wolfville, Nova Scotia

 

SEP 26 TUE

IBMA World of Bluegrass

Raleigh NC

 

SEP 29 FRI

Transylvania County Library Amphitheater

Brevard, NC

 

OCT 7 SAT

White Horse Black Mountain

Black Mountain, NC

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It's bad news from Houston

The state of Texas has been good to me. We have shows in Fort Worth, Houston, and Fischer in November. The Mucky Duck seems to have survived. Texans in general are a tough lot, living as they do with rattlesnakes, brown recluse spiders, and other Texans.

 

We look forward to bringing back one of the best shows you've ever seen. Until then, we're keeping a strong rehearsal schedule:

 

****************

 

SEP 16 SAT

Station Inn

presented by Merlefest and

Quicksilver

Nashville, TN

 

SEP 22 FRI

Deep Roots Music Festival

Wolfville, Nova Scotia

 

SEP 26 TUE

IBMA World of Bluegrass

Raleigh NC

 

SEP 29 FRI

Transylvania County Library Amphitheater

Brevard, NC

 

OCT 7 SAT

White Horse Black Mountain

Black Mountain, NC

 

OCT 27

Fuglsang Kunstmueum

Maribo Denmark

 

OCT 28

Kulturwerk am See

Norderstedt Germany

 

Your fan

 

JByrd

 

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Gravity

While I was on the road my wife fell off a ladder and broke one of her ribs. She can't walk and something is obviously wrong with her knee. She has an MRI scheduled this week.

 

She was filling a bird feeder. She was doing a hundred things. She always is, especially when I'm gone. There's a wheelbarrow full of mulch with a flat tire. A pump lays on the ground next to it. An opened box from Amazon on the porch. A clutch of eggs in the coop. The ladder itself, warped and overturned in the garden.

 

It's like the scene of a death or an evacuation- which I suppose is the same thing. One day, all you've left undone returns to the wild.

 

It makes sense that she got hurt feeding the birds. She's always feeding someone.

 

What will you be doing when you finally succumb to gravity? Was it worth the chance you took? Will anyone recognize you in it?

 

I've got a lot to do and none of it is on the internet. Have a great day. Take chances. Your fan,

 

JByrd

 

**************** 

 

SEP 16 SAT

Station Inn

presented by Merlefest and

Quicksilver

Nashville, TN

 

SEP 22 FRI

Deep Roots Music Festival

Wolfville, Nova Scotia

 

SEP 26 TUE

IBMA World of Bluegrass

Raleigh NC

 

SEP 29 FRI

Transylvania County Library Amphitheater

Brevard, NC

 

OCT 7 SAT

White Horse Black Mountain

Black Mountain, NC

Potential.  

Potential.  

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Clean

When I first got serious about songwriting, I wanted to write songs that would grow up, leave home, and go make friends in the world. When I hear someone singing one of my songs, it's bigger than any check in the mail. It's dream dollars. It goes right in my thanks account. 

Check out Allison Hopkins singing 'Clean.' What a voice. 

I'm spreading these songs far and wide. My plan is working! MWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

 

AUG 18 FRI

Bear Creek Folk Festival

Grand Prairie, Alberta

 

AUG 21 MON

Needle Vinyl Tavern

Edmonton, Alberta

 

SEP 22 FRI

Deep Roots Music Festival

Wolfville, Nova Scotia

 

SEP 26 TUE

IBMA World of Bluegrass

Raleigh NC

 

SEP 29 FRI

Transylvania County Library Amphitheater

Brevard, NC

 

SEP 30 SAT

Windfield Farm Concerts

Pfafftown, NC

 

OCT 7 SAT

White Horse Black Mountain

Black Mountain, NC

 

Your fan, 

 

JByrd

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Aperture

The news this week has been disheartening but not surprising. I generally avoid the news but sometimes it's unavoidable. Then I lay awake at night thinking about it, which is why I avoid it in the first place.

aperture

when I lose focus

I picture a candleflame

burning in darkness

I know how light works

wherever my mind was made

there burned a candle

into the darkness

the light traveled forever

from the beginning

it seems dark out there

but if light is anywhere

light is everywhere

****************

AUG 18 FRI

Bear Creek Folk Festival

Grand Prairie, Alberta

AUG 21 MON

Needle Vinyl Tavern

Edmonton, Alberta

SEP 22 FRI

Deep Roots Music Festival

Wolfville, Nova Scotia

SEP 26 TUE

IBMA World of Bluegrass

Raleigh NC

SEP 29 FRI

Transylvania County Library Amphitheater

Brevard, NC

SEP 30 SAT

Windfield Farm Concerts

Pfafftown, NC

OCT 7 SAT

White Horse Black Mountain

Black Mountain, NC

Your fan,  

JByrd

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Lipstick graffiti

I've seen a lot of hotel rooms. Sometimes it seems as if they haven't been cleaned very well. Lipstick graffiti on the bathroom mirror is a new one for me. It said, "REALIZE REALITY".  

I brushed my teeth and wondered what the story was. Who would leave this message? For whom? Why would the maid leave it untouched? 

I love a clean room, but I love a good story more. Sometimes not having all the facts helps. If you love a good story, come to one of these shows:

AUG 10 THU
Birthplace of Country Music
Bristol, TN

AUG 11 FRI
White Horse Black Mountain
Black Mountain, NC

AUG 12 SAT
Sertoma Amphitheatre at Bond Park
Cary, NC

AUG 13 SUN
Listen Speakeasy at Hush
Greensboro, NC

AUG 18 FRI
Bear Creek Folk Music Festival
Grande Prairie Alberta

Your fan,

JByrd

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You've Changed

    I'm getting very close to releasing my first book of poetry, which will be published by Mezcalita Press in Austin. 'You’ve Changed' is a collection of poetry that was born over seven years of working on a novel. I may work on the novel for another seven years or another seventy. 

    A song can be held in the mind whole as you work on it. Only so much can happen in a song, or at least only so much can be said about it. To be fair, each word carries more weight. Still, a novelist is obligated to come up with a minimum of forty thousand words that can grip the modern attention span for at least an afternoon. Paul McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’ has thirty-four words and is done before you can plunge your French press. 

    To maintain a sense of wonder and play in this highly disciplined writing environment, I created exercises for myself. I would remove time. I would introduce two characters from different books. I would tell a modern story using only words from Genesis. 

    Mostly they were weird little monsters I shared with my friends on the internet. But some were very moving. Some made me cry or laugh out loud. Some still do, even just now proofreading the latest version. Somehow my heart got into it. 

    That's the magic of art. I show up and do things every day. Suddenly one day my hand says something my heart has been trying to say for years. It feels as if a cog has moved inside me. As if my internal machinery has wheeled forward another inch in its specific mission, a mission that is maddeningly hidden from me inside the ink of a thousand hotel pens. 

    You’ve Changed is a seven-year journey of inches. I didn’t even know I was making a book and now it's almost done. I hope you get to hold it in your hands. 

 

You've Changed

 

We had breakfast with a friend

it made us late for an appointment

but we got some great photos

 

I was reading the side of that building on Queen Street

when I stepped out in front of the bus

In letters three stories high

it said You've Changed

 

I have.

 

it's no surprise that your taste buds choose your mood

The softness of light saltiness

The pleasure of discovering everyone

The rare salvation of satisfaction

 

Mary Oliver said on the radio

 

There is no nothingness

but there might be an end to consciousness

 

That's why I shouted Thank You

in the middle of Queen Street

as I was about to die

 

just in case

 

Thank You

 

It was hard but in the end

I loved life

most of all I loved my senses

I had breakfast with friends

I'm ready again

 

Thank You

**********************************

We're playing this weekend in some of our favorite places

 AUG 3 THU
The Purple Fiddle
Thomas WV

AUG 4 FRI
Club Cafe
Pittsburgh PA

AUG 5 SAT
Oak Grove Folk Music Festival
Verona VA

and next weekend...

AUG 10 THU
Birthplace of Country Music
Bristol, TN

AUG 11 FRI
White Horse Black Mountain
Black Mountain, NC

AUG 12 SAT
Sertoma Amphitheatre at Bond Park
Cary, NC

AUG 13 SUN
Listen Speakeasy at Hush
Greensboro, NC

and the next weekend! 

AUG 18 FRI
Bear Creek Folk Music Festival
Grande Prairie Alberta

Your fan, 

JByrd

 

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Zombie

You've probably heard that Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with glioblastoma. When I heard, it brought up memories of Paul Ford's diagnosis, especially the part where Mr. McCain says he's looking forward to getting back to work. 

Glioblastoma is the meteor that killed the dinosaurs. It's a shark attack in super slo-mo. There's no amount of chemotherapy, radiation, or macrobiotic organic free-range cannabis oil that will stop it. I talked to one of the most famous cancer doctors in the country. He said stay close to home. 

I'm grateful to have been able to say goodbye to Paul while he was alive. On the other hand, he wanted to die long before he did. Mr. McCain will die like a warrior and that's the best we can hope for him. I'm thankful he was able to serve us for so long. 

I wrote this poem after Paul's first surgery.  

***************

Zombie

I was sitting in the rain in my car
you were dying of brain cancer
or not dying of brain cancer
depending on whether the cat is alive
when we open the box 

Halloween night, I walked through the Field of Screams
a bloody bodiless leg lying in the path
a man with a banjo in the graveyard. 
a corpse in the tree that came to life
nothing was as scary as brain cancer 

it is a stage 3 cat
or maybe a stage 4 cat

the thing that nobody mentions is
the third option: the cat is not in there. 
It's because there is no third option. 
The cat cannot perform any of the more
famous tricks of quantum physics

a corpse cannot really come to life
not even on Halloween night

I turned the key and took you some soup
your head was stapled like Frankenstein
you hugged me and were not undead
maybe you were more alive than ever

*****************

"Maybe time running out is a gift. I'll work hard till the end of my shift." - Jason Isbell, If We Were Vampires

Hell yeah, Jason. We're doing our part: 

JUL 28 FRI
Durham Central Park
Durham NC

JUL 29 SAT
Saturdays In Sahaxapaw
Saxapahaw NC

AUG 3 THU
The Purple Fiddle
Thomas WV

AUG 4 FRI
Club Cafe
Pittsburgh PA

AUG 5 SAT
Oak Grove Folk Music Festival
Verona VA

AUG 10 THU
Birthplace of Country Music
Bristol, TN

AUG 11 FRI
White Horse Black Mountain
Black Mountain, NC

AUG 12 SAT
Sertoma Amphitheatre at Bond Park
Cary, NC

AUG 13 SUN
Listen Speakeasy at Hush
Greensboro, NC

AUG 18 FRI
Bear Creek Folk Music Festival
Grande Prairie Alberta 

Your fan, 

JByrd

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Happy birthday, kid.

When I tell audiences where I'm from every night, I tell them that the University of North Carolina is the only state university in the United States to have graduated a class in the 18th century. American audiences nod and look at each other, impressed. Some of them get out their phones to verify this amazing fact.

 

When I use that line in Europe, they laugh out loud. What a funny guy this folk singer is! So nice that he can make fun of his own country.

 

This tree is older than America. There are CLAMS older than America. Give us a break. We were all young and idealistic once. You grow up and one day you yell at your kids for doing all the dumb things you did. Pull your pants up. Get a haircut. Don't play with fireworks- you'll put an eye out.

 

Oh whatever. Go have fun. Be careful!

 

I love you.

 

Happy birthday, kid.

 

July 6-9

Northern Lights Festival Boréal

Sudbury Ontario

 

JUL 28 FRI

Durham Central Park

Durham NC

 

JUL 29 SAT

Saturdays in Saxapahaw

Saxapahaw NC


AUG 3 THU

The Purple Fiddle

Thomas WV


AUG 4 FRI

Club Cafe

Pittsburgh PA


AUG 5 SAT

Oak Grove Music Festival

Verona VA

 

Your fan,

 

JByrd 

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I Like Big Buds

Happy summer! We're excited to play the Northern Lights Festival Boréal in Sudbury, Ontario for the first time. Darcy Yates will join us on bass. Later on this month, we'll have a run through my home turf and then Johnny's.

 

July 6-9

Northern Lights Festival Boréal

Sudbury Ontario

 

JUL 28 FRI

Durham Central Park

Durham NC

 

JUL 29 SAT

Saturdays in Saxapahaw

Saxapahaw NC


AUG 3 THU

The Purple Fiddle

Thomas WV


AUG 4 FRI

Club Cafe

Pittsburgh PA


AUG 5 SAT

Oak Grove Music Festival

Verona VA

 

We're just back from our best U.K. tour yet. We'll be back in 2018. Thank you for your hospitality and enthusiasm. If you missed getting an album, you can order anything in the back catalog from Fish Records. Thanks to Peter Morgan of Fish Records for the work he's done on four successful tours. Thanks to the venues for opening your doors to a couple of cowboys.

 

I'm working on a song that needs sixteen simple lines. When it's finished, you could write it on a cocktail napkin. I've been working on it for about six months and I'm down to about one hundred and fifty possible lines on five pages and another twenty pages of notes. I offer this as a reality check for anyone who might be out there struggling with a song.

 

My friend Charles Humphrey III, bass player for Steep Canyon Rangers, just completed the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run in 29 hours. So I reckon I can keep going on this song.

 

But the biggest news of all is this, live from my little piece of heaven:

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I like big buds and I cannot lie.

 

Your fan,

 

JByrd

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Pound for pound

We're in the U.K.  The heat is daunting. There's no air-conditioning. The exchange rate is horrendous. There's no majority government. No one knows who the prime minister will be in a few weeks. Fires. Stabbings. People run down with vehicles. 

 

The natural world seems to be carrying on as usual. The fox hunts the pheasant. Wild poppies grow in a wheat field. If all humanity ceased to exist tomorrow, this big beautiful Earth would barely notice. 

 

We've been walking around taking in all of it- the old buildings, the wildflowers, the changing landscape of this country. Europe is in general known in America as The Old World but it's renewed every day. This is the core purpose of art, to see the world in new ways. Through the senses of the artist we experience the world more truly, even through fiction, as our senses are renewed to the ever-changing world.

 

"There's nothing new under the sun." -- Ecclesiastes

 

"You could not step twice into the same river." -- Heraclitus

 

JUN 19 MON

The Musician Pub

Leicester, UK

 

JUN 20 TUE

The Golden Lion

Bristol, UK

 

JUN 21 WED

The Green Note

London, UK

 

JUN 23 FRI

The Live Room at Saltaire

Shipley, UK

Shrewsbury. This wall is likely medieval, though like the family axe it's had a few new handles and a few new heads... 

Shrewsbury. This wall is likely medieval, though like the family axe it's had a few new handles and a few new heads... 

Wild chamomile. The smell slows down time.  

Wild chamomile. The smell slows down time.  

Birmingham mosque. The city is nearly one-quarter Muslim and will soon have no ethnic majority at all. 

Birmingham mosque. The city is nearly one-quarter Muslim and will soon have no ethnic majority at all. 

Life finds a way.  

Life finds a way.  

Summer touring in a Cadillac, an unusual sight on the dual carriageway. You could put an Aston Mini in the trunk.  

Summer touring in a Cadillac, an unusual sight on the dual carriageway. You could put an Aston Mini in the trunk.  

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Perspective from 40,000 feet and 4,000 Miles Away

Saturday June 11

"There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness." -Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

As we drove over the overpass into the airport this morning, there was a man crouched behind a highway sign on the wrong side of the guardrail and a police officer about twelve feet from him, his cruiser blocking one lane, lights flashing. They were having, to say the least, an intense conversation. We had driven under the man and hadn't seen him. The conversation in our car would never return to wherever it had been seconds before. I'm still not sure what happened and I can't find any news about it.

All I know is when I spilled an entire can of tomato juice into my crotch thirty minutes into our first flight, it was no big deal. I laughed out loud. A towel and two cans of seltzer water later, I sat back down looking and feeling like I'd pissed my pants. I still smell a little like soup. I don't remember any of the small, or not so small, discomforts of the transatlantic flight. I'm a little tired. Whatever. I'm alive in a farmhouse in Staffordshire.

I hope that guy is okay. I hope you're okay, wherever you are. If you're not okay, hang on. It gets better. Here's a song of hope from a couple of jet-lagged cowboys a long way from home with laundry to do.

If you're in the UK too, you can see us live:

JUN 12 MON
Hive Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury, United Kingdom

JUN 13 TUE
Kitchen Garden
Birmingham, United Kingdom

JUN 14 WED
The Biddulph Arms
Stoke-On-Trent, United Kingdom

JUN 15 THU
The Place Theatre
Bedford, United Kingdom

JUN 16 FRI
Festival Hall, Market Rasen
Market Rasen, United Kingdom

JUN 17 SAT
The Bank Eye
Eye, United Kingdom

JUN 19 MON
The Musician Pub
Leicester, United Kingdom

JUN 20 TUE
The Golden Lion
Bristol, United Kingdom

JUN 21 WED
Green Note
London, United Kingdom

JUN 23 FRI
The Live Room at Saltaire
Shipley, United Kingdom

Your fan,

JByrd

 

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Reckon We Are

By the time most of y'all read this, we'll be in the U.K. which will likely be buzzing with the results of the general election. Speaking of buzzing: 

Governments change, music lives on. Come see us:  

 

JUN 12 MON

Hive Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury, United Kingdom

 

JUN 13 TUE

Kitchen Garden

Birmingham, United Kingdom

 

JUN 14 WED

The Biddulph Arms

Stoke-On-Trent, United Kingdom

 

JUN 15 THU

The Place Theatre

Bedford, United Kingdom

 

JUN 16 FRI

Festival Hall, Market Rasen

Market Rasen, United Kingdom

 

JUN 17 SAT

The Bank Eye

Eye, United Kingdom

 

JUN 19 MON

The Musician Pub

Leicester, United Kingdom

 

JUN 20 TUE

The Golden Lion

Bristol, United Kingdom

 

JUN 21 WED

Green Note

London, United Kingdom

 

JUN 23 FRI

The Live Room at Saltaire

Shipley, United Kingdom

 

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Your fan,

 

JByrd

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