Brian Byrne
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Brian Byrne

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The best kept secret in music


"Album Review"

Pop punk, emo, screamo, hip hop….all of these genres are fine and dandy, but what happens when you grow up and realize that you don’t want to get a bad hair cut, wear tight shirts, bleed because you like the pain and go pick up bitches. Where is the music in the world that you can grow up with?

The debut album from former I Mother Earth front man, Brian Byrne, is exactly that. The folk-y, alt-country of his acoustic guitar will be the album you can put on when you are 20 or 60 years old. It has a charm that is reminiscent of some of Canada’s great songwriters, such as Blue Rodeo.

Songs like “Days Go On” and the album’s first single “Far From Good” are fun dance-y number with sing-along choruses. While “Paper Girl” and “Century Old” are slow and heart felt. You can hear the heart throughout the stories each track. Every character Byrne has created on Tuesdays, Thursdays And If It Rains has their own loves and struggles. After a few tracks you realize that Byrne has thoroughly immersed himself in this album and you are getting a glimpse of him you would have never expected. Songs like “Jen’s Song” are clearly personal and it’s hard to stop you heart from melting as he praises the love his wife has given him.

You may not be sold on the idea of this former rocker “finding his musical roots” and actually doing a good job at it. But Tuesdays, Thursdays And If It Rains is the type of album that can pick you up and calm you down in the blink of an eye. The songwriting and music Byrne has created will solidify his place in Canadian music. It proves that he doesn’t need to be the earth, just himself.
- Tangible Sounds

"Chartattck Report Card"

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- Chartattack

"Cross-Canada Tour Coverage"

Most adults won't admit it, but even after they grow up, move away and start a life of their own, they still bring a piece of home with them.

Items like a favourite blanket or an old football comfort them in moments of homesickness.

But Brian Byrne, the former lead singer of I Mother Earth, opted to bring four people from his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador to help him feel at home during his first solo cross-country tour -- his bandmates.

"I'm actually in the van with four other Newfies right now -- Newfoundlanders, sorry Dennis (his bandmate)," laughs Byrne, who visits the Powerplant Friday night. "My whole band is from Newfoundland, so I'm very attached to it and close to it."

Byrne said the country music he listened to while growing up in Steady Brook, N.L., was where the country sound on his new album Tuesdays, Thursdays and If It Rains came from.

"When I Mother Earth was done, it was a really good opportunity to chase it down," he says of the old tunes. "I think (the sound) just stems from traditional music and the idea that everyone back home, generally, are just good storytellers."

Byrne joined I Mother Earth in 1997 after the band's first lead singer, Edwin, left to pursue a solo career. Byrne was 22 when he auditioned. At 31, he can look back at what he learned in his 20s, a reflection that is obvious while listening to his album.

"It's been a long time since I joined the band, and things change. The subject matter for my songs are all things that mean something to me -- my wife and my friends and my family. I never got the chance to write with I Mother Earth, so it was a real release to come out and do all my own stuff."

When Byrne first started performing with I Mother Earth, the band was playing sold-out shows as a headlining act. Now, the blond musician with tattoos covering every inch of his arms and back is an opening act for some lesser-known Canadian bands.

"I'm fine with it," he said. "I think that you need to be down, you need to go 'Wow, here I am again, spinning my wheel.' I think that only helps fuel what you're doing. I don't think anyone deserves to be up all the time. I think that's bad for your ego and bad for your spirit."

And although he's starting over and experiencing life as a musician the hard way, Byrne said his show is getting favourable reviews.

"It's been really, really good, really positive. I honestly couldn't be happier with the response -- I know that sounds pretty stock but it's true.

"I mean, I know when we're off, we've had a couple bad shows, but I think that as long as we know they're bad shows and we fix it and other people don't know it's a bad show, we're OK."



"Tuesdays, Thursdays and if it Rains " (Kindling Music, 2006)


Feeling a bit camera shy


You can take the boy out of Newfoundland, but you can't take Newfoundland out of the boy.

"Right now I'm not living there, but it's always so close to my heart. The people, the music, the culture. I owe a great deal of who I am to that place."

Brian Byrne comes from Steadybrook, Newfoundland... population 500. Regardless of its small size, his musical influences were large.
He formed his first band when he was 12 years old and found himself listening to the likes of U2, Metallica, Johnny Cash, Gram Parsons and The Cure. "I had a pretty wide listening scope when I was growing up, but I either loved it or hated it. There was no down-the-middle for me."

After years of traveling the east and west coasts, and with one failed trip to California, Brian finally decided it was time to go to Toronto.

"I hitchhiked my way from Calgary to Vancouver and even made it across the border to Seattle, but after three cold nights in a sleeping bag on the street, I knew if I didn't turn my ass around back to a warm bed somewhere, my Mom would kill me!"

Soon after arriving in Toronto and surviving by pizza making, bartending and singing whenever possible, a fellow band mate gave him the news that Canadian platinum-recording artists 'I Mother Earth' were searching for a new lead singer. Without any further prompting needed, Brian ran out to a nearby shopping mall and had a passport photo taken. That photo, coupled with a less than professional cassette tape of a few of his own original songs, were sent off in the mail to the band.

When the phone rang 3 months later and someone on the other end told him it was "Jag from I Mother Earth", he laughed and hung up the phone on what he thought was a prankster friend. When the phone immediately rang again he felt his stomach drop.

With that phone call from I Mother Earth guitarist Jagori Tanna, Brian was invited to come out and jam with the band.
After a few months, lots of songs and many laughs, the band told Brian to take off his shirt, raise his arms over his head and close his eyes. Although hesitant, Brian did as he was asked. When he opened his eyes he found himself standing in an I Mother Earth band t-shirt. That induction was the beginning of a beautiful and current 6 year relationship.

With Brian at the helm, I Mother Earth received a GOLD record, toured the world and performed sold out shows to ecstatic audiences.
Brian's dynamic stage presence has life long fans of the band and recent newcomers alike leaving their concerts in complete and utter awe.

Brian’s amazing ability to embrace and entertain crowds is best understood when seen. Whether it's the Newfoundland way, or how his parents raised him, his ease and kindness with all people is unprecedented.

While Brian continues to be immeasurably proud of his work with I Mother Earth, his current solo work provides an insight into both his past and future as a dynamic performer and artist. With his early influences of rock, country and folk ringing true throughout his melodies and lyrics, Brian displays a more, vulnerable, passionate and sensitive side to his work not previously seen or heard.

It is this honesty and passion that keep him both connected to his music, and very strongly tied to the place where it all began. They say 'where you come from is what makes you', and Brian Byrne firmly believes that Newfoundland made him the artist he is.

Brian is now finished his album and being managed by Jake Gold of The Management Trust Ltd.