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Byrd to make a call on Savannah Folk Music Society
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A native of Chapel Hill, N.C., Jonathan Byrd grew up singing in the Southern Baptist church, where his father preached and his mother played piano. 
After four years in the Navy, he returned to Chapel Hill to play in rock bands in that legendary underground music scene. 
A friend of Byrd’s invited him to an old-time fiddle festival in the mountains of southwest Virginia, where his writing began to change. Assimilating the sounds of Southern traditional music, Byrd wrote new songs in anold style.
One of those first songs was “Velma,” a murder ballad based on the true story of Velma Barfield, the last woman to be executed in North Carolina (in 1984) and the murderer of Byrd’s own grandfather. This was the track that prompted folk legend Tom Paxton to respond eloquently to Byrd’s music. 
Paxton sent Byrd a quick email, saying, “What a treat to hear someone so deeply rooted in tradition, yet growing in his own beautiful way.” He had just released “Wildflowers,” in late 2001, simple tales of love and death that seemed to be a hundred years old or more. 
In 2003 Byrd released his second album, “The Waitress” and won the prestigious New Folk competition in Kerrville, Texas. That year, he set CD sales records at the festival. 
For his third album, Byrd approached his friends, the critically acclaimed world-music duo known as Dromedary, often featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. “The Sea and The Sky” is the result, a vast, poetic suite of music that weds world sounds to deeply rooted folk balladry.
As Byrd grows into a contemporary artist of increasing influence, his traditional roots are always evident in his simple, poetic storytelling and classic flat-pick guitar style. 
But, as quoted in a recent interview for Dirty Linen magazine, he says, “Everything I do is a departure from what I’ve done.” “The Sea and the Sky” is certainly evidence of that. Keep an ear out for an upcoming electric album, sure to take us further out on a limb without forgetting our roots. 
The concert, sponsored by the Savannah Folk Music Society, will begin Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and tickets, sold at the door, will be $10 for the general public, $8 for SFMS members and $5 for children and students.
For more information, call (912) 786-6953 or on the web,