A Review of the Jamie Byrd CD
"Garden of Days"
"Garden of Days"
by Jamie Byrd
Rooster Dog Records
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 7/06
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.
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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
"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
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..."
"If I Made A Painting," nicely allied with fluttering mandolin, opens with this:
"If I made a painting of this love
About how her parents met and fell in love, in "A Summer's Night In June" Byrd sings:
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..."
"...you can find peace, ready or not, if you count your blessings for what you got
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.
You can find love, it's hide and seek, it's there in everyone you meet..."
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.
All songs by Jamie Byrd, unless otherwise noted.
- Gonna Build Me A Barn (3:28)
- In a Mirror (2:31)
- Rain (4:34)
- I Found You (3:14) Scott Brown
- Stand On Your Mountain (4:22)
- Urban Waltz (3:32)
- Tumbleweed (4:33)
- String of Pearls (3:56) Steve Fisher and Jamie Byrd
- If I Made A Painting (3:30)
- A Sunner Night's In June (3:02)
- Heart of the Wood (3:21)
- Two Birds (3:18) Steve Fisher and Jamie Byrd
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