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Music Review - `A Shiver in the Sky ` by John Byrne Band (bm) (2)

The John Byrne Band - A Shiver in the Sky  (click on image to watch video)

 1 December 2019



Dublin-raised, Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter John Byrne blurs the line between Irish folk songs and East Coast rock ‘n’ roll while offering peace in the eye of life’s storms on the John Byrne Band’s new album A Shiver in the Sky.

Despite the monotony of hometown life described in “Time Ain’t Changed a Thing in This Town,” Byrne always considers the silver lining, as exemplified by “All in All.” Just like the characters in “Hard Livin’ Lovers,” we can all come out on the other end of life’s inconveniences and injustices as stronger people.

Other standout rock and folk concoctions include “Hold That Against Me,” which is basically a horn rock throwback with a fiddle solo, and the upbeat, indie rock-inspired “Special Place in Hell.” Both shatter any notion that only Irish folk listeners can pick out the subtle differences between Byrne’s songs.

While the songs crossing rock grit with Irish folk tradition best capture Byrne’s imagination and the album’s overall message, the handful of musical outliers deserve equal playlist consideration. For example, “Just Like You” sounds like rockabilly meets Dixieland, yet it still fits the album’s sonic and thematic feel. 

Byrne ends the album with two no-frills Irish folk songs. The first of these, “Easy to Get Stuck Here,” allows the whole “life’s lousy sometimes, but don’t give up” theme to breathe a little as Byrne’s vocals and lyrics take center-stage. A collection of songs tied to place and considerate of circumstances ends with “As The Crow Flies,” a more mysterious folk parable set to music.

In all, Byrne and his supporting cast imaginatively spruce up what’d already been lyrically strong work from a skilled stylist with a clear message of hope.



Bobby Moore




Bobby Moore





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