CD REVIEW: Mick Byrd - Around
By Cyrus Rhodes - 11/04/2010 - 11:58 PM EDT
Artist: Mick Byrd
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Acoustic Folk/Rock
Sounds Like: Bob Segar, Little River Band, Eagles
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 6/10
Overall Talent Level: 6/10
Songwriting Skills: 6/10
Performance Skill: 6/10
Best Songs: Away (Ellie’s Song) Just the Blues
Weakness: Dated sounding production, marketability
Acoustic singer/Songwriter Mick Byrd releases his latest CD entitled Around in 2010. Band line up includes Byrd – acoustic guitar& vocals, Brand Edwards - Electric Guitar & Keyboards, Tom Reichart - Drums & a slew of session players.
Logging in at just over 47 minutes, the CD kicks things off with “Around” a melancholy intro piece that serves up driving rock rhythm accompanied by well impressive solo guitar licks, & well placed harmonies by Byrd & company. Track 2 “Away (Ellie’s Song) shifts gears a bit with soothing acoustical duet that is sincere as much as it is genuine. Track 3 “Just the Blues” delivers full tilt saloon style piano, with impressive pedal steel picking making for an impressive bluesy type groove. As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice a lot of musical variety from Byrd & Company. The music itself has a lot of emotional peak & valley effect to it. Many songs possess a very carefree & uplifting spirit while a few offer up a very honest assessment of life experiences. The CD offers a rich melodic vocal foundation, & lush layers of instrumentation. This catalogue touches all the bases from rock, to pop, to country, to folk & blues, to even a classic Celtic ballad & hard rock. I would classify this music as classic Acoustic Folk & Americana Rock/Blues with a strong emphasis on vocal harmonies & melodic reinforcement. Besides the standard 4 piece delivery you will also notice brief splashes of fiddles & strings, harmonica, pedal steel, piano, & delightful harmonies layered within the music. Honorable mentions go out to some of the sizzling piano & solo guitar chops showcased on the CD. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments on it with musical influences reminiscent of such classical acts as the Eagles, Bob Segar, Little River Band & perhaps a splash of Dr. John. From Passionate “Like That” & "Colorado Sky” to heart felt “Sometimes” & "No Road Like That” to striking “Whisper” to hard rocking “Black Hole” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. I especially enjoyed many of the bluesy rock grooves like “Gravy Train” & “Old School” that will get the toe tapping without even trying. The CD ends with “Table of Friends” even an Americana/Irish ballad. The CD comes fully loaded with 13 tracks & packs a lot of musical variety to boot.
It’s safe to say Byrd doesn’t possess the greatest Baritone in the world – though he does manage to keep his head barely above water. A few of the pieces tend to drag you across the finish line. Some vocal harmonies need to be tightened up a bit. Not crazy about the 2 singer line-up either. The time change in “Like That” & "Whisper” just sound really awkward – perhaps these transitions need to be fine-tuned & re-vamped a bit. The overall production clarity with respect to some of the mixing sounds extremely amateurish & somewhat dated. If it was 1989 this CD would be a cutting edge musical production, unfortunately the year is 2010 & the bar is set really high for mixers & artists like Byrd when it comes to modern-day post production quality & some of the cuttinge dge mixing techniques used nowadays. Mixing will always be the make or break of any production, regardless of how good the songs are, & regardless how professional the Mastering is. I fully realize this is a subjective art form but it’s fair to say all of the above effects the CD’s overall marketability.
In close Mick Byrd’s Around CDis a compelling musical collection. Like the aforementioned the CD packs a lot of musical variety & emotional highs & lows along the way. The musicianship is rock solid for the genera. All songs are short & sweet musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, & signature groove. I look forward to hearing more material from Mick Byrd in the near future.
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