September 20, 2006

George Byrne

::by Jenn Rogers::

If there has to be a musical genre I'm a sucker for, it's male singer-songwriters. You get a boy with a guitar and I swoon. You add a few country sounding beats and emotion that could only be the result of a little too much alcohol, and you can generally find my wallet out and the artist supported.

George Byrne does deserve the comparisons he gets to Ryan Adams. After all, you can tell so much about an artist by their myspace top eight, but the country induced melodies and melting voice give this music a strength of its own. Personally for me, a comparison as apt is Beck's Sea Change, a quiet and yet devastating album that gets beneath your skin. When it comes down to it, it's each individual song of an artist that counts and there are a thousand reasons a song can be popular. It can get you in the mood for a night out, or in the case of George Byrne, it can settle you for a night in and a little heartbreak.

His debut album Foreign Water follows his EP Iron Skies and the development between the two recordings is obvious. Too often, citing country influences has become a code for blindly emotional songs, that rely too heavily on harmonica and sometimes annoying finger picking on the guitar. This is the exact opposite of George's music. While the music is still vaguely reminiscent of a lazy Sunday morning, this is an artist in charge of their own influences. Each song tells a story, speaks of too much emotions below the surface and never surrenders. For me, the highlight of this album is the New York style love song "On My Mind" and it clearly demonstrates the ability of this music to tell a story. At once, this album represents an attachment to the world that only comes with experience and yet, each song seems to contain an element of hope. Tomorrow could be better and even when the morning comes and the whiskey from the night before is still in your blood stream, Byrne represents an artist who has captured that moment so completely that it's a little harder to feel alone.

If you live in the UK, George is due to be there at the end of September, supporting another Australian artist, Lior. Check out Lior's website here, for the details.

+ Foreign Water [mp3]
+ On My Mind [mp3]
+ Everybody Hides [mp3]

BUY Foreign Water.

*Find more George Byrne at the Hype Machine.

George Byrne's myspace.

According to 'Jenn is awesome dot com',' a very cool kid' and also 'the #1 nyc antifolk musician 2002'. Apparently, Jenn Rogers has been making a lot of international flights from her home town of Sydney, Australia and has been far busier than she ever realised.


  1. Hi! Firstly; great blog. i really enjoy the music. i've got one question: which songs do you recommend when you are deadly angry? keep up the good work /mia

  2. mia -


    as for songs, i guess that depends on whether you want to encourage and maintain the deadly anger, or soothe and remove any anger. To maintain the anger I'd recommend listening to a radio station playing a genre you despise (for me, that's what they call Major label country music these days).
    To soothe the anger I truly recommend Nick Drake or John Vanderslice.