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Contributions for NC School for the Deaf

These bright girls attend the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf. It’s a boarding school and they live together in a dorm all week away from home while they attend school. They eat meals together and hang out in the evening in their common space. 

Many of them come from poor families. One of the mothers who lives in Chapel Hill recently noticed that their common space is quite bare. There’s lots of room for games, books, art supplies, and musical instruments (yes even though they are hard of hearing they love music). 

So I’d like to collect some items for these young ladies. Elementary through middle school children all live together. Board games, puzzles, picture books through easy-reading chapter books, craft supplies, children’s videos, toys— anything in good shape will bring these children joy and make their living environment more fun and fulfilling. We’ll get some over to the boys dorm too. 

Bring your donations to The Kraken tomorrow night. If you live far away from us and you’d like to ship some items to the school, please include a letter explaining the purpose of your donations and send them to: Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf, 1311 US-301, Wilson NC 27893

Thanks y’all! Your fan, 

JByrd

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Pedal Power & more tour dates

Have you ever wondered what I’m plugged into? What am I doing with my feet during a show? How do I get such a great sound out of my guitar?

For the uninitiated, guitar “pedals” or “stompboxes” are little self-contained circuit boards with footswitches, usually arranged onto a “pedalboard” at a guitarists feet. They do various things with the sound of an instrument, and are a necessary part of a touring musician’s gear. I tend to use them in subtle ways that most people don’t notice- but musicians always notice. You may be surprised at how much is going on at my feet during a show, and I’ve made a video explaining it.

Of course, the best thing is to experience the magic of a live show, during which we usually forget about technology. A show is a human experience, a chance to sing along with all the people you argue with on Facebook. Live music is one of the things we need more than ever. Come see us:

Every Wednesday night!
The Kraken
Chapel Hill, NC

Feb 1 Fri
Society Garden
Macon, GA

Feb 2 Sat
TOL Coffeehouse
Columbia, SC

Feb 3
Arcana
Durham, NC
special guests for a 25-minute set! With Charles Latham

Feb 10 Sun
The Alleghany Arts Council for The Beat Goes On
Sparta, NC

Feb 14 Thu
Muddy Creek Cafe And Music Hall
Bethania, NC

Feb 22-23 Fri & Sat
Wintergrass Music Festival
Bellevue, WA

Mar 14 Thu
Muddy Creek Cafe And Music Hall
Bethania, NC, United States

Mar 15 Fri
The Cary Theater
Cary, NC

Mar 28 Thu
Red Dragon Listening Room
Baton Rouge, LA

Mar 30 Sat
Fayetteville Public Library
Fayetteville, AR

Apr 4 Thu
Museum of Commerce
Pensacola, FL

Apr 5 Fri
McGonigels’ Mucky Duck
Houston, TX

Apr 6 Sat
Sycamore Creek Concerts
Dripping Springs, TX

Apr 25 Thurs
The Aquarium
Fargo, ND

Apr 26 Fri
West End Cultural Centre
Winnipeg, MB

Apr 27 Sat
The Warming House
Minneapolis, MN

May 11 Sat
Tobias Music
Downers Grove, IL

May 16 Thu
Caffe Lena
Saratoga Springs, NY

May 19 Sun
Askew Prov
Providence, RI

May 21 Tues
Rockwood Music Hall
New York, NY

May 23 Thurs
Cafe Nine
New Haven, CT

May 24 Fri
Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
Morristown, NJ

May 26 Sun
Island Pride
Gaithersburg, MD

June 29 Sat
Songs From the Wood
Deep Gap, NC

July 12 Fri
Rhythm of the River Music Festival
Jackson, MN

July 13 Sat
Levitt Shell
Sioux Falls, SD

Your fan,

JByrd

Jonathan Byrd Boxing 2018_20181130_7907 smaller.jpeg

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Moonshot

I am writing this on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which also happens to be my son’s ninth birthday, which also happens to be the day after a lunar eclipse. It was cold last night for North Carolina, 16 Fahrenheit or about -9 Celcius.

That made for a clear sky to see the lunar eclipse, and my son stays with me on Sunday nights. We laid out warm clothes and a small telescope. I promised him I’d wake him up to see the eclipse.

We didn’t end up using the telescope much. Just seeing it with your naked eye is fairly breathtaking. As the eclipse approached totality, it seemed as if there was a spotlight on one side of the Moon, as if it was hung in an art museum for quiet contemplation.

It’s hard to tell from our human perspective just how far away the Moon is. We can put a thing into orbit, ready to meet the International Space Station, in a little less than ten minutes. It took four days to get to the Moon. The entire planet Saturn and its rings would fit between Earth and the Moon. It was so hard to get there that humans haven’t been back in more than 46 years, despite the fact that the tiny device you are probably reading this on has replaced maps, cameras, multicomponent audio systems, compasses, books, cash registers, calculators, travel agents, guitar tuners, alarm clocks, and— if we’re not careful— actual experiences.

We still don’t have an app for justice and equality. We haven’t replaced the magic of a real celestial event. The innocence and vulnerability of our own children is a reminder that it’s not enough to imagine these things.

Because the crew of the Apollo mission risked death, my son is able to come home and explore the surface of the Moon and even Mars on a computer screen. Because Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others risked death, my son can learn and play with friends of all cultures and colors. I imagine what it must have felt like for the Apollo crew as they lifted off from the Moon. We’ve come so far. We have so far to go.

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

Every Wednesday night!
The Kraken
Chapel Hill, NC

Feb 1 Fri
Society Garden
Macon, GA

Feb 2 Sat
TOL Coffeehouse
Columbia, SC

Feb 3
Arcana
Durham, NC
special guests for a 25-minute set! With Charles Latham

Feb 10 Sun
The Alleghany Arts Council for The Beat Goes On
Sparta, NC

Feb 14 Thu
Muddy Creek Cafe And Music Hall
Bethania, NC

Feb 22-23 Fri & Sat
Wintergrass Music Festival
Bellevue, WA

Mar 14 Thu
Muddy Creek Cafe And Music Hall
Bethania, NC, United States

Mar 15 Fri
The Cary Theater
Cary, NC

Mar 28 Thu
Red Dragon Listening Room
Baton Rouge, LA

Mar 30 Sat
Fayetteville Public Library
Fayetteville, AR

Apr 4 Thu
Museum of Commerce
Pensacola, FL

Apr 6 Sat
Sycamore Creek Concerts
Dripping Springs, TX

May 11 Sat
Tobias Music
Downers Grove, IL

May 16 Thu
Caffe Lena
Saratoga Springs, NY

May 19 Sun
Askew Prov
Providence, RI

May 24 Fri
Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
Morristown, NJ

May 26 Sun
Island Pride
Gaithersburg, MD

photo by Aaron Honeycutt

photo by Aaron Honeycutt

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Rest In Peace, Mary Oliver

Rest In Peace, Mary Oliver. There is no flag to fly at half staff for poets, and governments do not care much for poets. Poets don’t care much for flags either, nor the insecurities they soothe with their soft flapping.

Mary Oliver cared about each little brown flag of last year’s beech leaves sighing their chittering death rattle into the wind. She cared about clarity. Though she never met me, she cared about me. She told me, and all of us, over and over that we belong. She told me that if there is any knowable god, it is on the Earth and in each other. The Church told me that I was an alien here, that I was somehow different from all the creatures and plants and rocks and waters of the earth, that my home was somewhere far away. Mary reassured me that I was as natural as a woodchuck. She agreed with me about the strangeness of modern life, about the absolute insanity of homework when there was a whole planet to be explored. She told me that there is no nothingness, but there might be an end to consciousness.

That is the value of poetry, the value of reading, and the value of an education. It’s not about finding a job. It’s about finding meaning in your work. It’s not about being smarter. It’s about being accountable.

I wish I could’ve met Mary. I’m not sure what I would’ve said, but that is the way with meeting famous people. Maybe I would’ve memorized something like what I’ve written here and recited it as if I was meeting some head of state. Mary was more important to me than any head of state, athlete, scientist, musician, or any celebrity you can name. I might have cried and hugged her and I’m sure she would’ve been uncomfortable with the whole thing. I am not very famous, but famous enough to know that the art is not the artist.

Thank you Mary Oliver, somewhere in the somethingness. Thank you for leaving behind a meticulous map of important things. The call of the wild geese, over here. The white fire of the stars, up there. The dark skirts of the earth, down there. You said you read Rumi every day. I read you every day. The Earth was your Beloved. Now you are together. You were never apart.


The Journey, by Mary Oliver


One day you finally knew

What you had to do, and began,

Though the voices around you

Kept shouting

Their bad advice‚

Though the whole house

Began to tremble

And you felt the old tug

At your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

Each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

Though the wind pried

With its stiff fingers

At the very foundations‚

Though their melancholy

Was terrible.

It was already late

Enough, and a wild night,

And the road full of fallen

Branches and stones.

But little by little,

As you left their voices behind,

The stars began to burn

Through the sheets of clouds,

And there was a new voice,

Which you slowly

Recognized as your own,

That kept you company

As you strode deeper and deeper

Into the world,

Determined to do

The only thing you could do‚

Determined to save

The only life you could save.

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We Are Fan-ily

People give me things. It’s one of the best indicators that I’ve given them something- and that is often on my mind: am I doing something worthwhile?

I don’t think about it all the time, like when I’m watching SciShow videos on YouTube, but when I’m on stage or writing this blog, I question the value of my work constantly. In fact, I have to tell this annoying little question to shut up sometimes so I can use that part of my brain to remember lyrics which, as a singer, seems like a more worthwhile use of my baseline level of anxiety.

The line between friend, fan, and family can get blurry. Some of y’all are thinking, Wait a minute, Cowboy. Blood is thicker than water. (Which is a hotly debated phrase that can mean a lot of different things, but most people in my life have used it to mean “genetic connections are somehow stronger or more important than friends, business associates, or anyone who has a less shame-laden, passive-aggressive way of expressing their bond with you.”)

What is absolutely true is that humans have historically, and hysterically, had a hard time accepting people who are a little different. For instance, if you are queer, artistic, or one of the one percent of wealthiest people in the world— because let’s face it, there are percentage-wise way more gay people than extremely wealthy people, so being super-rich is weirder than being gay and therefore conservative parents should probably discourage it— you have to find the people who are weird like you.

What can I call this group? Kurt Vonnegut invented the term “karass.” Unless you’ve read Cat’s Cradle, that word sounds like “harass” and “caress” at the same time, which is considered socially unacceptable more and more these days unless you’re super-rich, which we’ve already shown is basically the weirdest thing you can be, so let’s not use them to justify karassing someone in the workplace.

I can’t hear the word “tribe” without thinking about the arbitrary in-group pride and dehumanization of those not in the group that leads to neglect, mistreatment, and even genocide.

I’m going to call it fan-ily. Friends can be fan-ily. Even family can be fan-ily, though in paradoxical anti-tribalness, artists and other weirdos often face rejection from their families in pursuing their most authentic life. That is, until they’re super-rich. Then you’re everybody’s favorite weirdo.

You don’t have to be an entertainer to have a fan-ily. Your fan-ily shows up when you need them. Your fan-ily is amazed at how awesome you are! Your fan-ily does not constantly remind you of that one time you ate poop. Seriously, nobody needs that in their lives. Stop it.

This is a small spread of gifts from my fan-ily. Jamie Shea sent me his great new record. I do know John McCutcheon, but it was a local fan who passed his record and book on to me. The astronaut memorabilia came to me from a fan who used to work with Commander Chris Hadfield, an astronaut I shared a stage with once. The jar of honey is from a local beekeeper and the cards came from other fans local and abroad.

Not pictured are the dozens of albums and t-shirts that other artists in my fan-ily have given me. One Christmas, I gave everyone in my family my latest album (honestly it was all I had left to give) and I heard some grumblings about my immodesty. A popular phrase in the South is, “Don’t rise above your raisin’,” which I think is a holdover from the British class system, and means you should at least appear to be as dumb as the median dumbass in your family.

That kind of thinking may be going out of style, but giving people something you’ve made is always fresh! It’s actually how most of the world does it without the basic necessities of western civilization, like Walmart and actual money. If someone in your family gives you their new album, just think of it like when your great aunt crochets trivets for everyone, only it cost $30,000 and took three years to make, and perhaps the biggest reward it will ever reap will be for you to actually listen to it and discuss the work honestly with them.

Which is what my fan-ily does. They even purchase more copies of the new album and give them to their fan-ilies, or anyone they are fan-iliar with.

To be clear, my family has been supportive, though like everyone I’ve had to find my fan-ily within my family. I don’t think my mother understands half of what I do, but she’s the matriarch of the fan-ily. I’m lucky that my family is full of brilliant minds. I try to at least appear as smart as the median genius among them.

One thing I learned from my family, and again from my fan-ily, is to be grateful. Thank you for your gifts. Thank you for letting me know that my work is worthwhile. Thank you liking, sharing, commenting, and for being my fan-ily. You make me feel super-rich. But not in a weird way.


Your fan,


JByrd

**************** 

I found copies of two albums that have been out of print! If you’ve wanted a hard copy of The Law & The Lonesome (Diana Jones! Coyote!) or You Can’t Outrun the Radio (Poor Johnny! A Big Truck Brought It!), get ‘em now. I have just a handful of each. Order them direct:

http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/the-law-amp-the-lonesome

http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/you-cant-outrun-the-radio

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Every Wednesday night!
The Kraken
Chapel Hill, NC

Jan 10 Thu
Muddy Creek Cafe And Music Hall
Bethania, NC

Jan 17 Thu
Old County Jail
Iredell Arts Council

Statesville, NC

Feb 1 Fri
Society Garden
Macon, GA

Feb 2 Sat
TOL Coffeehouse
Columbia, SC

Feb 10 Sun
The Alleghany Arts Council for The Beat Goes On
Sparta, NC

Feb 14 Thu
Muddy Creek Cafe And Music Hall
Bethania, NC

Feb 22-23 Fri & Sat
Wintergrass Music Festival
Bellevue, WA

Mar 14 Thu
Muddy Creek Cafe And Music Hall
Bethania, NC, United States

Mar 15 Fri
The Cary Theater
Cary, NC

Mar 28 Thu
Red Dragon Listening Room
Baton Rouge, LA

Mar 30 Sat
Fayetteville Public Library
Fayetteville, AR

Apr 4 Thu
Museum of Commerce
Pensacola, FL

Apr 6 Sat
Sycamore Creek Concerts
Dripping Springs, TX

May 11 Sat
Tobias Music
Downers Grove, IL

May 16 Thu
Caffe Lena
Saratoga Springs, NY

May 19 Sun
Askew Prov
Providence, RI

May 24 Fri
Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
Morristown, NJ

May 26 Sun
Island Pride
Gaithersburg, MD

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Home Away From Home

The Pickup Cowboys are excited to try something new this year. Starting January 10, this Thursday, we’re starting a monthly residency at Muddy Creek Music Hall in Bethania, North Carolina. Of course, we are also playing tonight, Wednesday, at The Kraken. After a year of playing every Wednesday, The Kraken feels like home. We’d like to make Muddy Creek our home away from home.

Another first for us: we’re going to jail! (Okay, technically a first. We’ve never been to jail as a whole band before.) The Old County Jail in Statesville, North Carolina is now a performance space. You know I love a dark tale. And ANOTHER first for us: we are playing Wintergrass!  Will be on stage Friday and Saturday during this great Seattle-area Bluegrass and Americana festival in February.

All the tour dates:

Tonight! *and every Wednesday night*
The Kraken
Chapel Hill, NC

Jan 10 Thu
Muddy Creek Cafe And Music Hall
Bethania, NC

Jan 17 Thu
Old County Jail
Iredell Arts Council

Statesville, NC

Feb 1 Fri
Society Garden
Macon, GA

Feb 2 Sat
TOL Coffeehouse
Columbia, SC

Feb 10 Sun
The Alleghany Arts Council for The Beat Goes On
Sparta, NC

Feb 14 Thu
Muddy Creek Cafe And Music Hall
Bethania, NC

Feb 22-23 Fri & Sat
Wintergrass Music Festival
Bellevue, WA

Mar 14 Thu
Muddy Creek Cafe And Music Hall
Bethania, NC, United States

Mar 15 Fri
The Cary Theater
Cary, NC

Mar 28 Thu
Red Dragon Listening Room
Baton Rouge, LA

Mar 30 Sat
Fayetteville Public Library
Fayetteville, AR

Apr 4 Thu
Museum of Commerce
Pensacola, FL

Apr 6 Sat
Sycamore Creek Concerts
Dripping Springs, TX

May 11 Sat
Tobias Music
Downers Grove, IL

May 16 Thu
Caffe Lena
Saratoga Springs, NY

May 19 Sun
Askew Prov
Providence, RI

May 24 Fri
Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
Morristown, NJ

May 26 Sun
Island Pride
Gaithersburg, MD

More to come. We hope to see you in your home! Your fan,

JByrd

Jonathan Byrd Boxing 2018_20181130_7867 smaller.jpeg

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2018, Year of The Kraken

I can’t remember a year of my life as dramatic as 2018.

My stepfather developed dementia and my mother became his caretaker. I separated from my son’s mother and my lover of eighteen years. I went to jail. I started a podcast and dumped it. I started teaching songwriting and loved it. A drummer, Austin McCall, joined our band and we completely reworked our music. We lost two agents and a manager. I fell in love again. Johnny and I released an album we’ve been sitting on since the late Paul Ford was diagnosed with brain cancer. Through it all, one thing has propped me up more than any other.

One afternoon when I was twenty-something, I poked my head into a little tin-roofed roadhouse on a rural highway outside Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Two guys sat in the neon twilight, smoking and watching TV. I left and never went in again until one year ago, last December. 

When I was 35, I bought a house two miles from that shack. It used to be called ‘Lil Bar’. It was ‘Catahoula’s’. It was ‘54 Crossroads’. At some point, it became The Kraken, and I noticed a changeable-letter sign with local bands on it. Sometimes, there was a touring act. I thought hmm, I gotta go in there and check it out, but I never did. 

We barely toured the past few years. Johnny and I worked with some of the best musicians in the world, but we never found a consistent third member. Of course, there was no one like Paul. Then there was the chaos of musical-chair agents and manager.

So last December, I’m scratching my head, wondering how I’m going to pay the bills. Beyond that, how do we stay tight? Johnny and I had a great show but we toured so little, we had to learn it all over again whenever we went out. I had mused for years about a local residency. Wouldn’t it be great to build a community around a regular night? Maybe it would take years, but it would be worth it. Wouldn’t it be great if I could practically walk to it? 

I went online and checked the schedule for The Kraken. Weekends were for touring acts. Tuesdays were Old-Time Nights. Every other Thursday was a DJ. What about Wednesday? I drove down there and walked in. Good thing too, because I found out later that no one had updated the website in months. Kirk had forgotten they had a website. By some magic or coincidence, the website was correct. Wednesday nights were open. 

The stage is surprisingly big for such a small place. I thought, Yeah, we could do this. We might be playing for ourselves some nights, but we’d be playing. 

I eventually caught up with Kirk Schmidt, co-owner of The Kraken, who helped me hang posters for a show twenty-five years ago. He looked at me sideways. We worked it out. Start at 7pm.  Pass the bucket. If it’s a good night at the bar, they’ll tip us out a little. Start in January. 

My ego said, “Byrd. You’ve worked hard for almost twenty years to sell out local venues. You want to play big places like the Haw River Ballroom. You haven’t passed the hat in fifteen years. Wtf are you doing?” 

I told my ego I was tired of sitting on the album we’d made with Paul. I wanted to play. I wanted to meet my neighbors. I wanted to serve somebody.

Johnny suggested we talk to Austin McCall about playing drums with us. I said something like, Well I hope it’s not too loud. My ego is a real turd sometimes. 

Every Wednesday night has been packed. It snowed a foot and people came out. Kirk and Jody forgot to pay the power bill once and we plugged into the food truck. The summer got hot and we played with the doors open. So many people came they had to park on the side of the road. The highway patrol started handing out tickets and towing, so we added an announcement to make sure people knew how to stay within the rules. 

Musicians have come from Canada and the UK to be our guests for tips on a Wednesday night. James, the Wednesday night bartender, confessed that he had been looking for another job before we started the residency. Kirk and Jody were able to put money into the HVAC system. Kirk told me weekends had slowed down and Wednesday nights had saved their year. When we couldn’t be there, local musicians stepped in to cover the night.  

Austin McCall on the drums has changed everything. We played songs we’d never played live before. Austin got people dancing. Two people came to our Halloween show dressed as Austin McCall. He built a smokeless campfire that we used for the album release show- a packed house at The Haw River Ballroom. Suck it, ego.

I tallied up the money musicians have made this year, passing the bucket on a Wednesday night at The Kraken. $40,000. In a roadhouse. On a Wednesday night. Passing the bucket. 

Surprising to everyone, becoming a bar band has been the most successful move of my career. A community has formed around these Wednesday nights that beats all I’ve ever seen. Some people have been there every single Wednesday night since it started. 

I live on the third floor of my mother’s house. My ego is learning a lot. I’ve written, and I’m still writing, a series of erotic poems. It’s actually helped my ego’s fear of being judged, which I suppose is shame. Maybe the poems are an act of confession: a timeless way to process shame, and an invitation to forgiveness and love. I’ve been reading them out loud at The Kraken, which has been fun. I might be the first person to ever recite poetry in that little roadhouse. A handful of times, people have bought the poems off the stage. 

Not everyone gets the sexy poems. Many of my most requested songs are tragedies about death, addiction and murder. I’ve never been shamed for any of those, but a few fans are very uncomfortable with erotic poetry. So I’m handing your shame back to you. I’m living at my mom’s house and I don’t have room for it.

We’re going to work on an album with Austin this year. We’re talking Johnny into making a Christmas album with the musical saw. I have more poetry projects in the works. There are a few 2019 wild horse calendars left- a practice run for a whole book of Rodney Bursiel’s equine photography and my poetry. https://rodneybursielphotography.com/product/2019-horses-of-camargue-calendar/

Please sign the email list. Social media is free and easy but it’s chaotic and hard to know what reaches you. Sign the email list. It’s a place just for us. http://eepurl.com/ckeOhD

Someday, I’d like to complain about how much I pay in taxes. Someday, I’d like to not have to negotiate for health care. For now, I’m going to keep living on love and trying to say what everybody needs to hear. I do believe there’s a business in it.

We’ve been doing Facebook live on Wednesday nights and we’re working on a better quality broadcast. We want everyone to experience the neon beauty of this place my friend Nathan Brown called “a Quentin Tarantino movie.” 

We’re starting a monthly residency at Muddy Creek Cafe in Bethania NC. First one is January 10th. https://www.muddycreekcafeandmusichall.com/muddy-creek-bethania

For touring, we’re working with Craig Grossman of Green Room Music Source and he’s been good for us already. Thanks, Craig. https://www.greenroommusicsource.com

I’ll be scheduling another Online Songwriting Retreat soon and you can keep up with that here: http://eepurl.com/dCLKEX

Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys really is a fantastic album and a beautiful 64-page color booklet, a family photo album of our touring life with Paul and the making of the album. http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/pickup-cowboy

On the T-shirt, Paul’s face sits right above your heart. On the back, there’s one of Paul’s favorite lyrics by our friend Matt Fockler. “Do you dream? Do your dreams come true? What do you see? What do you do to make it happen?” We’ll print one more run of these, and then they’re gone. Lots of ladies size L and XL left in classic black and emerald green. http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/t-shirts

I’ve sold 500 copies of my first poetry collection, ‘You’ve Changed.’ It’s still surreal to have my name on a real book. It has that book smell. http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/youve-changed-1

we are in heaven
the sky is an illusion
like any border

Like this border between years. I often think we mark time so we can more accurately mourn it. Time is real, no doubt about that. I hope you feel like your time was well spent reading this.

Division seems to be a trend lately. At a little roadhouse on a rural highway outside Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the guy in the NRA hat is dancing with the county’s Democratic Party fundraiser. We’ve got babies, dogs, grandmas, doctors, mechanics, hippies, farmers, and code writers. It’s our own Wednesday night prayer meeting. Lord knows I’ve needed it almost every week this year.

Y’all come. Please do park all the way off of the white line. The ticket is $193, and the show is worth it, but we’d rather you put it in the bucket. Your fan,

JByrd.

photos by Stan Lewis, Bob Johnson, Jim McKelvey, John Respess, and Rodney Bursiel

photos by Stan Lewis, Bob Johnson, Jim McKelvey, John Respess, and Rodney Bursiel

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Feeling A Little Horse

Still need Christmas gifts? Everybody needs a calendar!

Rodney Bursiel is one of the best wildlife photographers in the world. Rodney made three trips to Camargue, France to photograph the oldest breed of horses in the world, and asked me to write poetry for his pictures. What an honor! 

There are only 100 and they are going fast. If you order 5, Rodney will throw in a free 8x10. Order 10, you’ll get two 8x10s. 

https://rodneybursielphotography.com/product/2019-horses-of-camargue-calendar/

 ***************

Thanks so much for your support for our new record, Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys. You can order copies for your friends and family and I’ll send them out this week. http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/pickup-cowboy

I’ve also added more sizes to our t-shirt stock. In particular, if you tried to order a men’s large or x-large, I have a few back in stock. Again, we’ll send orders off this week.

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

We’re playing at The Kraken every Wednesday from 7-10pm for the next twenty years, unless I tell you otherwise. :)

Jan 10 Thu
Muddy Creek Cafe And Music Hall
Winston-salem, NC

Feb 1 Fri
Society Garden
Macon, GA

Feb 2 Sat
TOL Coffeehouse
Columbia, SC

Feb 10 Sun
The Alleghany Arts Council for The Beat Goes On
Sparta, NC

Your fan,

JByrd

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T-shirt Children Well

We’re getting ready to drive to Oklahoma, Texas, and then back through Nashville. Our late friend Paul Ford sits right over my heart, and his favorite lyric by Matt Fockler is strapped across my back, “Do you dream? Do your dreams come true? What do you see? What do you do to make it happen?”

You too can have a soft, breathable triblend people’s Rushmore: http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/t-shirts

***************** 

Nov 28 Wed

The Blue Door
Oklahoma City, OK

Nov 29 Wed
Fort Worth Live
Fort Worth, TX

Dec 1 Sat
Unitunes Coffeehouse
Houston, TX

Dec 3 Mon
True Music Room
Nashville, TN

Dec 5 and every Wednesday, you’ll find us at The Kraken on Hwy 54 outside Chapel Hill, NC. We call it “church with beer.” Y’all come. Your fan, 


JByrd

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Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys

The album is here. Reviews are pouring in. Radio stations are playing it.

Thank you for time, money, and support you gave us during this sometimes difficult journey. We lost a good friend. We found a great drummer. We started a very successful residency. We got this beautiful record out to the world.

A few great things have happened this week. Blue Ridge Outdoors put us in the first spot on their Trail Mix playlist, along with Reverend Horton Heat, Tellico, and so many other great artists. https://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/trail-mix/trail-mix-november-2018-2/

Americana Highways premiered this really fun video for Temporary Tattoo: https://americanahighways.org/2018/11/12/video-premiere-jonathan-byrd-temporary-tattoo-video-from/

Henry Carrigan interviewed me for No Depression about what I’m reading and why: http://nodepression.com/article/jonathan-byrd-learning-be-human-through-stories

Then he wrote this incredible review of the album: http://nodepression.com/album-review/telling-stories-our-lives

“Byrd is a poet of the people” and that’s all I ever wanted.

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

Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys is now available on Bandcamp! It's the only place to download full-quality digital audio files AND it's the digital source that pays us the most. If you order the beautiful 64-page booklet through Bandcamp, you'll get an immediate download of the album while you wait. https://jonathanbyrd.bandcamp.com/album/jonathan-byrd-the-pickup-cowboys

And of course, you can always get it straight from me. Johnny and I will sign it and send it to your box. http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/pickup-cowboy

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

We’ve got a short run out west coming up and we’re bringing Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys with us!

Nov 28 Wed
The Blue Door
Oklahoma City, OK

Nov 29 Wed
Fort Worth Live
Fort Worth, TX

Dec 1 Sat
Unitunes Coffeehouse
Houston, TX

Dec 3 Sun
True Music Room
Nashville, TN

Your fan,

JByrd

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Folk Yes!

We’re headed up to Connecticut this weekend for the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance, or NERFA. It’s a folk music business conference, so we’re going to play some folk music like this:

We’ll be at The Kraken Wednesday night getting totally folked up. Lately, we’ve been streaming to Facebook Live from The Kraken, so look for us at https://www.facebook.com/jonathanbyrdmusic/ from 7-10pm every Wednesday.

Sunday night, we’ll play a show before we get the folk home:

Nov 11 Sun
mActivity Coffee Shop
New Haven, CT

Then later this month, we’ll get the folk out to Texas and Oklahoma:

Nov 28 Wed
The Blue Door
Oklahoma City, OK

Nov 29 Wed
Fort Worth Live
Fort Worth, TX

Dec 1 Sat
Unitunes Coffeehouse
Houston, TX

Your folking fan,

JByrd

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Thank You

Saturday night was probably the biggest show of my life. Thanks to everyone who made it possible. The artists: 

Jess Klein - Follow her. She’s about to put out another great album. https://www.jessklein.com/

A Different Thread - they’ve come into their own greatness this year. Listen and download “On A Whim,” their new album here:  https://adifferentthread.bandcamp.com/album/on-a-whim

Stan Lewis - This guy has given us so much. Great pictures, great music, and a ride to the airport. He doesn’t have a lot online, probably because he doesn’t need it. 

Violet Bell - I’ve been very excited to see two friends find their musical home together. This duo is much bigger than a duo. https://www.amazon.com/Dream-Wheel-EP-Violet-Bell/dp/B0753967JN

Our helpers:  

Thanks to Sarah Howe, Randy Best, and Danika Moody for stage help. I felt like a king, with things happening as they should all around me. 

Thanks to Barbara Ford for building a beautiful altar for the show, including Paul’s ashes and a pre-show espressso to wake the dead! Paul showed up for sure. 

Thanks to Aaron Honeycutt for donating his best bison skull, and to his daughter Crystal for delivering it.  

Thanks to my personal assistant, Bobbie Hayes, for selling $1500 worth of Pickup Cowboy and representing us at the table. Bobbie saves my career daily and believes in us with her whole heart. 

Thanks to Heather, Tom, Chris, Matt, Roscoe, Erin, and all the Haw River Ballroom crew for treating us and our fans like royalty. I didn’t meet everyone- my apologies if I missed you. 

The biggest thank you is to our fans and community for being there for us, some of you weekly. We are blessed by you. We’re going to work hard for you and deliver what you want- a great show, great music, and a chance to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.  

No, really. YOUR fan, 

 

JByrd

 **************

I’m leading my fourth Online Songwriting Retreat next weekend, and there’s one spot left! Learn more and sign up at http://onlinesongwritingretreat.com/

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The Signature Edition

We’re at the Saxapahaw General Store, signing albums. It’s a busy week here, and you’ll have a chance to hear us wherever you are. 

Tomorrow at about 6pm, we’ll be on WCHL The Hill, playing live and sharing tracks from the record. Listen live locally at 97.9FM or anywhere at http://listen.streamon.fm/wchl

Wednesday, we’re back at The Kraken with our good friend Eliot Bronson. He’s one of our favorite artists and he’ll be one of yours. 

Thursday, we’re live on WAME 92.9fm & 550am Real Country for two hours, 4-6. Listen live here: http://lightningstream.com/player.aspx?call=WAME-AM 

Friday, were excited to return to the beautiful Reeves Theater in Elkin, NC - one of our favorite venues that we played this year.

Saturday night is the local music event of the season! Not only are we releasing the long-awaited Pickup Cowboy album at The Haw River Ballroom, we’ll be joined by four of our favorite local artists. Jess Klein, A Different Thread, Violet Bell, and Stan Lewis. It will be a three-hour celebration of our album, the scene that birthed it, and the community we’ve discovered through our weekly residency at The Kraken. We owe y’all so much gratitude, and for us, this a party to celebrate you. 

*********************** 

People ask, Who is the Pickup Cowboy? What is the Pickup Cowboy?  

The cowboy is an American icon. Self-destiny. Man against the wild.

Almost every man fantasizes about leaving his family and responsibilities behind and facing the world alone. The American masculine myth tells us to shut down our emotions to do what needs to be done. But that was never true of the cowboy. Cowboys had songs. Cowboys had poems. Cowboys danced and traveled. They were interested in the world. That’s why they were out there. They weren’t running from their lives. They were walking boldly into their lives.

My friend Kim Beggs lives in Whitehorse, Yukon. She said to me, “You can always tell when someone comes here and they’re running away from something. They never last.” The lesson that all wild places have to offer is: You can’t run from yourself. 

That’s why Johnny’s guitar says FEEL on the back. It’s an imperative sentence. Hey you! Feel. Now. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’re telling these stories. So you can feel. So you can leave your cubicle behind, your job making jet engines, that workspace where you are not allowed to feel, or that time you have to be strong for your family.

You don’t have to hold back your tears and laughter at a Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys show. We’re not going to bullshit you with an American flag and a drinking anthem. I’m going to tell you all about this complicated relationship I had with my father. Which is not America and apple pie. It’s closer to Steppenwolf. And I think a real cowboy would recognize himself in Herman Hesse’s writing. In Siddhartha. The search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality.

And that’s my friend Matt Fockler who write two of the songs on this record. He’s a construction worker who drives old International Harvester trucks out in South Dakota and he writes these beautiful songs full of empathy and self-examination. He’s the Pickup Cowboy. 

If you live and authentic life, if you work hard and keep your heart open, if you’re willing to sing along and dance next to liberal and conservative, black and white, gay and straight, you’re the Pickup Cowboy. You’re our audience. You’re more than our audience. You’re our community. We’re in this together. We’re the Pickup Cowboys. 

Your fan,  

 

JByrd

***************** 

Tonight on WCHL @6pm

Tomorrow at The Kraken! 7-10pm

 Oct 25 Thurs

WAME 92.9

Statesville, NC
no tickets and no live audience - tune in at https://wameradio.com/ !

Oct 26 Fri
Reeves Theater
Elkin, NC

Oct 27 Sat
Haw River Ballroom
Saxapahaw, NC

Discount ticket here!  http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/discount-ticket

Nov 11 Sun
mActivity Coffee Shop
New Haven, CT

Nov 28 Wed
The Blue Door
Oklahoma City, OK

Nov 29 Wed
Fort Worth Live
Fort Worth, TX

Dec 1 Sat
Unitunes Coffeehouse
Houston, TX

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Pickup the Cowboy

For weeks, I’ve been saying you can pre-order Pickup Cowboy, our new album. Well, now you can ORDER it. They’re here! The official release date is November 16th but you can get it now. It’s a beautiful 64-page booklet, a photo album of our touring life with Paul. Order yours now! http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/pickup-cowboy

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

October 27th, we’re playing the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, the same room where we held a memorial for our friend Paul Ford when he passed away. Now we’re releasing the album that he made with us. For our hometown album release, we offer our biggest fans a discount ticket, $15.45, no fees, no paper tickets. Your name will be at will-call. Purchase your tickets for you and your friends here for this once-in-a-lifetime show: http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/discount-ticket

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

I have ONE SPOT left for the Online Songwriting Retreat, November 2-4. It’s a fun and powerful way to kickstart your writing and learn some new skills. Sign up and learn more about it here: onlinesongwritingretreat.com

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

Tour dates! The best way to see us and hear us is live:

Every Wednesday at The Kraken outside Chapel Hill, NC. Rod Abernethy is our guest tomorrow! Check out an amazing Halloween-themed guitar piece from Rod here.

Oct 21 Sun
The Rooster's Wife
Aberdeen, NC

Oct 25 Thurs
WAME 92.9
Statesville, NC
no tickets and no live audience - tune in at https://wameradio.com/ !

Oct 26 Fri
Reeves Theater
Elkin, NC

Oct 27 Sat
Haw River Ballroom
Saxapahaw, NC

Nov 11 Sun
mActivity Coffee Shop
New Haven, CT

Nov 28 Wed
The Blue Door
Oklahoma City, OK

Nov 29 Wed
Fort Worth Live
Fort Worth, TX

Dec 1 Sat
Unitunes Coffeehouse
Houston, TX

Your fan,

JByrd

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Sugar Daddy, Pickup a Bargain

We caught a nice jam on film this weekend. The video link is a little further down this email. First, I want to remind you that October 27th, we’re playing the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, the same room where we held a memorial for our friend Paul Ford when he passed away. Now we’re releasing the album that he made with us. For our hometown album release, we offer our biggest fans a discount ticket, $15.45, no fees, no paper tickets. Your name will be at will-call. Purchase your tickets for you and your friends here for this once-in-a-lifetime show: http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/discount-ticket

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

You can pre-order Pickup Cowboy, too! It’s a beautiful 64-page booklet, a photo album of our touring life with Paul. We’ll autograph Pickup Cowboy if you want and you’ll be among the first to receive the first-run edition. Every pre-order helps us to pay for press mailings and other costs associated with the album release. Order yours now! http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/pickup-cowboy

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

Here are the tour dates:

Every Wednesday at The Kraken outside Chapel Hill, NC. A Different Thread are our guests tomorrow.

Oct 21 Sun
The Rooster's Wife
Aberdeen, NC

Oct 25 Thurs
WAME 92.9
Statesville, NC
no tickets and no live audience - tune in at https://wameradio.com/ !

Oct 26 Fri
Reeves Theater
Elkin, NC

Oct 27 Sat
Haw River Ballroom
Saxapahaw, NC

Nov 11 Sun
mActivity Coffee Shop
New Haven, CT

Nov 28 Wed
The Blue Door
Oklahoma City, OK

Nov 29 Wed
Fort Worth Live
Fort Worth, TX

Dec 1 Sat
Unitunes Coffeehouse
Houston, TX

Your fan,

JByrd

photo by Rodney Bursiel, design by John Dixon

photo by Rodney Bursiel, design by John Dixon

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Pickup Discount!

October 27th, we’re playing the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, the same room where we held a memorial for our friend Paul Ford when he passed away. Now we’re releasing the album that he made with us. For our hometown album release, I wanted to offer my biggest fans a discount ticket, without online ticketing fees. Tickets are normally $18 in advance and $20 at the door, and there’s a $2.50 fee for purchasing the advance ticket online.

So I’m offering tickets on my own website for $15.45, no fees, no paper tickets. Your name will be at will-call. Purchase your tickets for you and your friends here for this once-in-a-lifetime show: http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/discount-ticket

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

You can pre-order the album here, too! It’s a beautiful 64-page booklet, a photo album of our touring life with Paul. Corin Raymond, Eliot Bronson, Aengus Finnan, and other celebrities show up too. We’ll autograph Pickup Cowboy if you want and you’ll be among the first to receive the first-run edition Every pre-order helps us to pay for press mailings and other costs associated with the album release. Order yours now! http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/pickup-cowboy

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

We’re playing this week with our amazing friend Neal Fountain on bass. Neal has played with Jeff Sipe, Colonel Bruce Hampton, and Aquarium Rescue Unit. He’s a monster. Check this out:

Here are the tour dates:

Every Wednesday at The Kraken outside Chapel Hill, NC, and yes Neal will be with us tomorrow!

Oct 4 Thu
The Crimson Moon
Dahlonega, GA - Neal Fountain on bass!

Oct 5 Fri
The Landings Club
Savannah, GA - Neal Fountain on bass!

Oct 6 Sat
Hendershots Coffee
Athens, GA - Neal Fountain on bass!

Oct 7 Sun
Eddie's Attic
Decatur, GA - Neal Fountain on bass!

Oct 21 Sun
The Rooster's Wife
Aberdeen, NC

Oct 25 Thurs
WAME 92.9
Statesville, NC
no tickets and no live audience - tune in at https://wameradio.com/ !

Oct 26 Fri
Reeves Theater
Elkin, NC

Oct 27 Sat
Haw River Ballroom
Saxapahaw, NC

Nov 11 Sun
mActivity Coffee Shop
New Haven, CT

Nov 28 Wed
The Blue Door
Oklahoma City, OK

Nov 29 Wed
Fort Worth Live
Fort Worth, TX

Dec 1 Sat
Unitunes Coffeehouse
Houston, TX

Feb 1 Fri
Society Garden
Macon, GA

Feb 2 Sat
TOL Coffeehouse
Columbia, SC

Feb 21-24
Wintergrass
Bellvue, WA

Mar 30 Sat
Fayetteville Public Library
Fayetteville, AR, United States

Apr 6 Sat
Sycamore Creek Concerts
Dripping Springs, TX

Your fan,

JByrd

Johnny Waken, Jonathan Byrd, and Neal Fountain

Johnny Waken, Jonathan Byrd, and Neal Fountain

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Pickup Cowboy is here!

Our new album, the one we’ve waiting for three years to put out, the one with our late friend Paul Ford all over it, is being printed as we speak. It’s beautiful. We’ve made a 64-page book with pictures commemorating our great run with Paul Ford on cello.

If you’ve been to our shows in the past few years, you’ve heard Pickup Cowboy. Lakota Sioux. Do You Dream? We Used to Be Birds. Temporary Tattoo. They’re all on Pickup Cowboy. You should order your copy now! Why?

You know how y’all say to us, “How come you’re not famous?” Well, we’re working on it and it takes money. We’ve spent $15,000 on this record up to this point and we’re about to spend that much more. You can have it for only $17! Every purchase will get us closer to, “You’re so famous I couldn’t get tickets!”

Order your copy here: http://www.jonathanbyrd.com/the-store/pickup-cowboy

Your fan, JByrd

________________________

Come celebrate with us! We’ll also be at The Kraken outisde Chapel Hill every Wednesday from 7-10pm.

Sep 22 Sat
Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival
Bristol, TN - with Kyshona Armstrong!

Sep 23 Sun
Windfield Farm Concerts
Pfafftown, NC - with Kyshona Armstrong!

Sep 30 Sun
Isis Restaurant & Music Hall
Asheville, NC

Oct 4 Thu
The Crimson Moon
Dahlonega, GA - Neal Fountain on bass!

Oct 5 Fri
The Landings Club
Savannah, GA - Neal Fountain on bass!

Oct 6 Sat
Hendershots Coffee
Athens, GA - Neal Fountain on bass!

Oct 7 Sun
Eddie's Attic
Decatur, GA - Neal Fountain on bass!

Oct 21 Sun
The Rooster's Wife
Aberdeen, NC

Oct 25 Thurs
WAME 92.9
Statesville, NC
no tickets and no live audience - tune in at https://wameradio.com/ !

Oct 26 Fri
Reeves Theater
Elkin, NC

Oct 27 Sat
Haw River Ballroom
Saxapahaw, NC

Nov 11 Sun
mActivity Coffee Shop
New Haven, CT

Nov 28 Wed
The Blue Door
Oklahoma City, OK

Nov 29 Wed
Fort Worth Live
Fort Worth, TX

Dec 1 Sat
Unitunes Coffeehouse
Houston, TX

Feb 1 Fri
Society Garden
Macon, GA

Feb 2 Sat
TOL Coffeehouse
Columbia, SC

Feb 21-24
Wintergrass
Bellvue, WA

Mar 30 Sat
Fayetteville Public Library
Fayetteville, AR, United States

Apr 6 Sat
Sycamore Creek Concerts
Dripping Springs, TX

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Burn baby burn

Writer's block? Want to write a song and never have? Want to write better songs? Join me for the Online Songwriting Retreat! Space is limited: Oct 12-14 has 7 spots left, and Nov 2-4 has 6.

"...everything about your workshop, from the examples and song prompts you gave, to the teacher and peer critiques, took me straight to where I needed and wanted to be. I laughed, I cried, I wrote, I rewrote, I finished. What a great feeling! Saying I'm grateful doesn't begin to cover it."

"It was great to be at home for this!  Not just because it was so economical, but because I was able to get the peace and solitude I need to write."

“...you created a safe place for us to work with the expectation of accomplishing something we could share.”

Sign up here!

_______________________

Protesters love to burn stuff! Bras, flags, shoes- there are even people who have burned themselves in protest. Well I'm going to protest the burning of things, starting right now by not burning anything. In fact, I'm going to not burn everything I own!

Tell the television stations and newspapers I'll be protesting live at all these places, brazenly not burning anything in front of everyone. Except for candles. We'll be burning candles but not because we don't like them. We love them. That's why we're burning them. We're not going to burn the stuff we DON'T like. It's a revolution, which is just a circle after all.

Every Wednesday 7-10pm at The Kraken!

Sep 15 Sat
Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center
Franklin, NC

Sep 22 Sat
Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival
Bristol, TN - with Kyshona Armstrong!

Sep 23 Sun
Windfield Farm Concerts
Pfafftown, NC - with Kyshona Armstrong!

Sep 30 Sun
Isis Restaurant & Music Hall
Asheville, NC

Oct 4 Thu
The Crimson Moon
Dahlonega, GA

Oct 5 Fri
The Landings Club
Savannah, GA

Oct 6 Sat
Hendershots Coffee
Athens, GA

Oct 7 Sun
Eddie's Attic
Decatur, GA

Oct 21 Sun
The Rooster's Wife
Aberdeen, NC

Oct 26 Fri
Reeves Theater
Elkin, NC

Oct 27 Sat
Haw River Ballroom
Saxapahaw, NC

Nov 11 Sun
mActivity Coffee Shop
New Haven, CT

Nov 28 Wed
The Blue Door
Oklahoma City, OK

Dec 1 Sat
Unitunes Coffeehouse
Houston, TX

Feb 1 Fri
Society Garden
Macon, GA

Feb 2 Sat
TOL Coffeehouse
Columbia, SC

Feb 3 Sun
The Crimson Moon
Dahlonega, GA

Feb 21-24
Wintergrass
Bellvue, WA

Apr 6 Sat
Sycamore Creek Concerts
Dripping Springs, TX

Your fan (for the flames),

JByrd

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Kyshona Armstrong!

We're excited to play with Kyshona Armstrong again this Friday, September 7th at the beautiful Sue E Trotter Black Box Theater in Athens, Tennessee. She'll join us again later this month for the legendary Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival and a concert at Windfield Farm. The most popular podcast I've made yet, for good reason, was an interview with Kyshona. She turns heads and ears wherever she goes. You can listen on the apple podcast app, on Stitcher, and on most podcast websites and apps. Just look for The Byrd Word podcast, "Do Something."

Don't forget - every Wednesday at 7pm at The Kraken in Chapel Hill NC!

Sep 7 Fri
Sue E Trotter Black Box Theater
Athens, TN - with Kyshona Armstrong!

Sep 15 Sat
Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center
Franklin, NC

Sep 22 Sat
Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival
Bristol, TN - with Kyshona Armstrong!

Sep 23 Sun
Windfield Farm Concerts
Pfafftown, NC - with Kyshona Armstrong!

Sep 30 Sun
Isis Restaurant & Music Hall
Asheville, NC

Oct 5 Fri
The Landings Club
Savannah, GA

Oct 6 Sat
Hendershots Coffee
Athens, GA

Oct 7 Sun
Eddie's Attic
Decatur, GA

Oct 21 Sun
The Rooster's Wife
Aberdeen, NC

Oct 26 Fri
Reeves Theater
Elkin, NC

Oct 27 Sat
Haw River Ballroom
Saxapahaw, NC

Nov 11 Sun
mActivity Coffee Shop
New Haven, CT

Nov 28 Wed
The Blue Door
Oklahoma City, OK

Dec 1 Sat
Unitunes Coffeehouse
Houston, TX

Feb 1 Fri
Society Garden
Macon, GA

Feb 2 Sat
TOL Coffeehouse
Columbia, SC

Feb 21-24
Wintergrass
Bellvue, WA

Apr 6 Sat
Sycamore Creek Concerts
Dripping Springs, TX

Your fan,

JByrd

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Hold on, I'm Coming!

I’ve had a hard year and you have really helped me through it. There’s no better therapy than connecting with you online, onstage, and in person. I’ve gotten a lot of messages like, “When are you coming back to Portland? Chicago? Toronto? Texas? England?

I have a great band and good friends. I would love to play for all of you soon, in your town, and it’s been frustrating to not be able to say when I’m going to do that. Fall tour dates are now mostly in and we're working on spring.

Starting back in January, we played a weekly residency at a little roadhouse called The Kraken that has been the best part of my week all year. We have a new album coming out in a few months- featuring our late great friend Paul Ford- that I’m very proud of. And, the Online Songwriting Retreat has been a smash hit!

"Your honesty and thoughtfulness and calm presence go a long way to creating a safe and relaxed atmosphere for sharing... It’s great how you get us writing right away and BRILLIANT how you mine something out of our own words for the prompts.

"It was great to be at home for this!  Not just because it was so economical, but because I was able to get the peace and solitude I need to write."

"...everything about your workshop, from the examples and song prompts you gave, to the teacher and peer critiques, took me straight to where I needed and wanted to be. I laughed, I cried, I wrote, I rewrote, I finished. What a great feeling! Saying I'm grateful doesn't begin to cover it."

The next Online Songwriting Retreats are open for reservations! October 12-14, and November 2-4. One person has already reserved for October, and there are only eight spots available for each weekend. Reserve your spot now at http://onlinesongwritingretreat.com/available-retreats/

Here are all the tour dates currently on the books. Click on any venue name to link to it:

Every Wednesday, 7-10pm
The Kraken
Chapel Hill, NC

Sep 7 Fri
Sue E Trotter Black Box Theater
Athens, TN - with Kyshona Armstrong!

Sep 15 Sat
Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center
Franklin, NC

Sep 22 Sat
Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival
Bristol, TN - with Kyshona Armstrong!

Sep 23 Sun
Windfield Farm Concerts
Pfafftown, NC - with Kyshona Armstrong!

Sep 30 Sun
Isis Restaurant & Music Hall
Asheville, NC

Oct 5 Fri
The Landings Club
Savannah, GA

Oct 6 Sat
Hendershots Coffee
Athens, GA

Oct 7 Sun
Eddie's Attic
Decatur, GA

Oct 21 Sun
The Rooster's Wife
Aberdeen, NC

Oct 26 Fri
Reeves Theater
Elkin, NC

Oct 27 Sat
Haw River Ballroom
Saxapahaw, NC

Nov 11 Sun
mActivity Coffee Shop
New Haven, CT

Nov 28 Wed
The Blue Door
Oklahoma City, OK

Dec 1 Sat
Unitunes Coffeehouse
Houston, TX

Feb 1 Fri
Society Garden
Macon, GA

Feb 2 Sat
TOL Coffeehouse
Columbia, SC

Feb 21-24
Wintergrass
Bellvue, WA

Apr 6 Sat
Sycamore Creek Concerts
Dripping Springs, TX

Your fan,

JByrd

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