A Review of the Jamie Byrd CD
"Garden of Days"

"Garden of Days"
by Jamie Byrd

Copyright 2005
Rooster Dog Records

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 7/06
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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All too often we become seduced by the printed, televised and pixelized 'train wrecks' of art and commerce (heavy on the latter) rather than the authentic talent that generously surrounds us. Such is the conundrum of Jamie Byrd. Not one to ever 'grace' the mutually exploitive tabloids of "Entertainment Tonight" or "E Online," Byrd is a musical artist who quietly goes about her creativity and leaves the world a better place in doing so.

In "Garden of Days," Byrd composes with multi-faceted potency about living, loving and being, arguing for stripping away the self-imposed and the societal barriers behind which so many place themselves.

Picking and choosing from the 12 musical options available, "Gonna Build Me A Barn" is a semi-lament but with a positive conclusion. It's bluesey-sounding, aided by Byrd digging deep with her vocals on this one. Abetted by background cello, "In A Mirror" proves that the well of love songs still holds water worth dipping the pail into. This cut will probably be the one aired the most on radio but there are certainly other contenders.

Both "Rain" and "Tumbleweed" could stand alone, sans music, as poetry.

Scott Brown's "I Found You" dovetails with the "Two Birds," the concluding offering. "...friends come and go and people change, but you and I are still the same..." is from the former, while "...two birds landed in a big oak tree, a kingfisher and a meadowlark, true as the arrow that finds its mark...," comes from the latter.

"Stand On Your Mountain" is more of an anthem. As the song goes, one can build windows or walls but:
"...words can be flesh, words can be bone
the voice that you silence is always your own
so stand on your mountain, stand on your road
stand anywhere, just stand on what you know..."
"Tumbleweed" reinforces the natural beauty so evident in this world, including that of human connection. Byrd and partner Steve Fisher trade verses, finishing with both simultaneously repeating their opening verses.

"If I Made A Painting," nicely allied with fluttering mandolin, opens with this:
"If I made a painting of this love
The night sky would hold the two of us
And in place of where my heart would be
I'd paint a window so you could see
Right to where you stand
You'd see that on your heart I've placed my hand..."
About how her parents met and fell in love, in "A Summer's Night In June" Byrd sings:
"...you can find peace, ready or not, if you count your blessings for what you got
You can find love, it's hide and seek, it's there in everyone you meet..."
Ostensibly about a tree, the rhythm-changing "Heart of the Wood" is metaphor for human life. Along with "In A Mirror," this song will deservedly receive extensive radio play.

Dylan wrote the song "When I Paint My Masterpiece--Byrd has compiled an entire CD that, as a whole, qualifies as such. Although appearing in 1995, "Garden of Days" will grace my Top Ten releases for this year. It's all here: versatile voice, engaging lyrics, complementary music and content that makes the listener feel and think.

Also absolutely deserving of mention are the liner notes. Each page is gorgeously adorned with a flower, fruit, bird or butterfly, many if not most, being Byrd's illustrations and designs.

Track List:

All songs by Jamie Byrd, unless otherwise noted.

Ownership, copyright and title of this folk music CD review belongs to me, Kevin McCarthy. Ownership, copyright and title are not transferable or assignable to you or other parties regardless of how or if you or other parties use, copy, save, backup, store, retrieve, transmit, display, publish, modify or share the CD review in whole or in part. Please read the "Terms, Conditions and Disclaimer" section on my web site for additional information about using, quoting, or reprinting this CD review.

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