REVIEW: Jonathan Byrd CD here in ‘Cackalack’

Jan. 10, 2013 @ 03:09 PM

We live in North Cackalacky. Why’s it called that? There is no consensus, but UNC has been on the case for years. Theories vary as to the origin, but there’s no question we know Cackalacky – and Cackalack – refers to this state. (No need to mention South Cackalacky.)
Musician Jonathan Byrd, a songwriter and singer with Texas influences on his Carolina work, will perform Saturday at Casbah on West Main Street in downtown Durham. It’s a good opportunity to check out the man hailed for his songwriting and guitar picking over five solo albums. His latest, “Cackalack,” brings you right to a Carolina front porch, folk music festival field or Nashville stage. He won the 2003 Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas’ songwriting competition for New Folk.
As a kid, Byrd lived in Fayetteville, Texas, Germany and rural Orange County. After a stint in the Navy, he worked at Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, leading to longtime friends and going to old time jams as his music took shape. He began touring in 2000. “Cackalack” was recorded in six hours in Toronto after a tour, and Byrd’s talent for singing, playing and writing flows easily into the listener’s ear.
The first track off his latest, “Chicken Wire,” includes the line “chicken wire lets the sun shine through,” and this CD does just that. It’s sunny afternoon music out in the country. Another great track is “Reckon I Did,” about war and signing up for it. In “Father’s Day,” Byrd writes about his late drinking and Salem-smoking dad who “could never give a compliment, but I’d tell him that I loved him anyway.” The final song on the 10-track album is the title track, beginning with taking Interstate 95 South to, where else, “Cackalack.”
Byrd has a song here that deserves a place in regular rotation of North Carolina theme songs played anywhere, anytime. Hear it just once, and you’ll be singing “Cackalack, Cackalack” many times over.

WHO: Jonathan Byrd
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12
WHERE: Casbah
1007 W. Main St., Durham