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

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

 25 November 2019



The John Byrne Band’s album, A Shiver In The Sky, doesn’t sound like anything on the radio today, and maybe that’s the reason why it also sounds so darn good. Instead, it plays out like a singer/songwriter set in an Irish pub – sometimes rambunctious (“Just Like You”), while other times quietly sensitive (“Time Ain’t Changed A Thing In This Town”).

Instrumentation, which includes banjo, steel guitar and horns, is also so much more organic than overly technologically advanced contemporary sounds. Byrne is an expressive singer that cannot ever hide the deep Dublin in his vocals. While Byrne songs – as do many of the best Irish tunes – oftentimes lean political, “Your Love Is All There Is,” is a straight-up love song. Even so, though, it’s also a sort of an ‘all we need is love’ song, too. It’s especially heightened with a sweet fiddle solo.

Byrne’s Irishness is impossible to hide, simply because of his accented voice and this album’s overtly Celtic instrumentation. He doesn’t address his background directly much with these songs. “Easy To Get Stuck Here,” though, is an exception to that general rule. “Our roots keep us strong,” he comments, “but sometimes they keep us where we don’t belong.” This song’s lyric is a kind of love/hate letter to his geographic choices. The song is played in a waltz-time rhythm, as Byrne sings from the perspective of one who is – and will likely always be – a stranger in a strange land. America has a long tradition where Irish folk (and many others) immigrate to its shores. It’s a fascinating land, too. U2’s Joshua Tree album is a prime sonic example of Irishmen exploring the U.S.’s mystique. You’re left wondering, with the song’s chorus of “It’s easy to get stuck here,” if Byrne feels like he’s living in Philadelphia because of free will, or if he, too, just got stuck in America. Whatever the case, though, his creative mind shows no signs of any stunted growth.


Music Reviewer - Dan MacIntosh


Dan MacIntosh - Dan MacIntosh has been a professional music journalist for 30 years and his work has regularly appeared in many local and national publications, including Inland Empire Weekly, CCM, CMJ, Paste, Mean Street, Chord, HM, Christian Retailing, Amplifier, Inspirational Giftware, Stereo Subversion, Indie-Music, Soul–Audio,, Country Standard Time and 

To Read All of Dan's Reviews, Click Here






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