Down at the Well of Wishes
Longleaf Pine Records
“Classic country” isn’t a genre that one runs across anymore, outside of satellite radio. Nope, country music today by and large is just CMT, autotuned rock and roll lite, with a steel guitar to clue you in and maybe an ode to Mama for good measure.
Apparently, nobody told Jon Byrd.
On Down at the Well of Wishes Byrd seems to have forgotten the last 50 years have gone by, because this is Merle Haggard, Lefty Frizzell country. Sixties country, before you were born. Byrd ambles into a tune, a la Mickey Newbury, and the gentle pace of the songs gives you more time to unravel the mysteries of “In a Chest of Skin and Bones” or title track. “Alabama Asphalt”, a look back at his birthplace seems to simmer and bake just like the roads around there in the summer heat, with Pat Seavers on a Weissenborn and a touch of Tony Joe White in Byrd’s vocals.
This is Byrd’s second album, following 2007’s Byrd’s Auto Parts, and if nobody tells him about what passes for country these days, then I predict Down at the Well of Wishes will be another step in a long career. Damn fine.
Jon Byrd: www.jonbyrd.com