jo bywater
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jo bywater

Liverpool, England, United Kingdom | SELF

Liverpool, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Alternative Acoustic


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"Jo Bywater - Cycle Grace Pulse Break"

Jo Bywater

Jo Bywater is a bluesy songwriter from Yorkshire, who has now set herself down in Liverpool and this is her debut album ‘Cycle Grace Pulse Break’…

I say bluesy as that’s the general feel I get from these tracks, however, her influences are plucked from quite a variety of genres with bands such as Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pearl Jam, Fiona Apple and Jeff Buckley, not to mention Neil Young. Like many of her more folky influences Jo is writing from the heart; she’s not writing for mass audiences or the charts. I get the feeling she is writing these songs almost for herself as they are more like personal poems put to music. While this is a brilliant way of writing and crafting songs it can come at a cost, and in this case it means a very lyrically heavy album verging on alienating the audience from the songwriter. Aside from opening track ‘Disclaimer’ it’s not always easy to hear the memorable lyrics and hooks which would have us coming back for a second or third listen. ‘Disclaimer’, as I mentioned, is the standout track due to these prominent factors. The guitar running down the frets is in a true blues style, the husky vocals drawling the punchy lyrics such as “I’m drinking with Shakespeare, it’s all on the rocks…” and the constant beat forming the backbone of the track, all make it 100 percent spot on. However the remainder of the album tends to waver slightly and it can be hard to decipher each song. I would love to hear a lot more variety, and possibly other instruments, especially from an artist who shows such great potential and talent.

The guitar playing is ace on ‘Cycle Grace Pulse Break’, it is obvious Jo is extremely skilled as she combines traits of acoustic folk and blues with a slight sprinkling of Jack White, there’s just something about the solo in ‘Scratch The Surface’ which nods towards Whites’ kooky style. There is also tapping on ‘Smokescreen’, a style which became quite popular due to Newton Faulkner or KT Tunstall, however regardless of how wonderful it is to watch, I feel it has unfortunately been greatly overused by acoustic artists recently and has possibly lost some of its allure.

I must add that this is a self released debut album and for that I feel Jo deserves recognition and appreciation for this from both music critiques and music fans alike. You can buy her album from her website or select independent record stores. You can catch her performing at Fact (22nd February) and Mello Mello (9th April) both in Liverpool and one more in Huddersfield in December but no festivals as of yet. Nevertheless I have a sneaking suspicion she may pop along to one or two in the summer, as this is the kind of music which will go down well at laid back folk festivals.

Finally, Jo Bywater is not just a musician, she is also an artist and painted the beautiful artwork for her album and I’m also going to mention that she has an exhibition of her artwork at the Unity Theatre in Liverpool from 25th-26th of February.

By Laura Geary Griffin - Live Music Scene

"Jo Bywater: Cycle Grace Pulse Break"

The first thing that struck me when I first listened to this, the debut album from Jo Bywater, was how much she reminds me of a fresh faced KT Tunstall. I don't mean she is a like for like copy, but rather that her passion, playing style and quirkiness is much the same as what first attracted me to Ms Tunstall. This is a fairly raw piece of work with little in the way of production but when it is just an acoustic guitar and voice then there is something reassuring about keeping a live feel to the proceedings.

Bywater's influences obviously come from the alternative end of the acoustic world with the likes of Newton Faulkner, Nick Harper and Jon Gomm having played a part in what Bywater is trying to achieve. While her guitar playing is competent, it is however her soaring vocals that mark her out from the crowd. Album Opener Disclaimer will have any listener checking to make sure they are not listening an early KT Tunstall recording. The resemblance is uncanny. She does however stamp her own individuality on this record with the downbeat Smokescreen where she uses the body of the guitar for percussion.

The seven tracks contained on this album show Bywater to be a talent that still needs to be nurtured rather than the finished article but with songs like Wave in her repertoire, she certainly has the makings of something special. - by The Music Critic

"Cycle Grace Pulse Break, Jo Bywater"

Cycle Grace Pulse Break is the first album release of Yorkshire-born acoustic songwriter Jo Bywater, who has honed her art through tireless live gigging in and around her adopted home of Liverpool.

The seven-track debut is a testament to the many styles that inspire her, with more emotion and range of mood than many artists manage to fit into a studio release treble Cycle Grace Pulse Break’s length. It’s impossible to pin a single genre on this album: at times it’s blues, other times folk and sometimes even a little grunge. The first track, aptly titled ‘Disclaimer’, begins with an upbeat, understated refrain before kicking out some bluesy swagger, as Jo’s voice swerves from gentle coo to whiskey-soaked snarl. The line “Outside I’m James Dean, inside I’m 28 Days Later” hints at a duality prevalent throughout the remainder of the album.

This is a very personal affair for Jo, never more evidently than on the track ‘Smokescreen’ – perhaps the album’s most introspective moment. Sparse guitars and quiet, contemplative vocals abound; as can be said of this album as a whole, the sombre mood doesn’t last the whole song and suddenly, we’re treated to one of the finest, most energetic riffs on the whole album.

Though Cycle Grace Pulse Break is quite raw in parts, Jo possesses the kind of energy that enables her to deliver a soulful howl (most evident on ‘Let Go’) without ever inviting you to dare feel sorry for her. Here she’s sensitive yet confident, and abundantly talented. Each song has its own unique personality – there are definitely no fillers here – and while listening to each one is a rewarding experience, by the end of the record you are left wishing for more. Having written, performed, created the artwork for and promoted the hell out of her first album, it’s clear Jo Bywater has the kind of passion that sets her apart from much of the soulless, generic work in her genre. If you’re looking for something exciting, challenging and refreshingly honest I recommend you check out Cycle Grace Pulse Break and you will not be disappointed.

Those looking to see Jo live can catch her at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre on Tuesday, 25 January.

The album can be purchased in physical and digital formats here.

Matt Pitman - The Girls Are

"Album review: Jo Bywater. CYCLE GRACE PULSE BREAK"

Jo Bywater isn’t your run-of-the-mill singer-songwriter and doesn’t fit neatly into the standard ‘guy strumming guitar’ mould. Instead she has forged her own path over the years developing an individual style that makes her stand out from the crowd. If it’s ordinary and bland you’re looking for then you won't find it here.

This first solo acoustic album is a work of art – quite literally, since Jo, a talented artist, created the album art and cd sleeve design. Cycle Grace Pulse Break contains seven songs performed in Jo’s inimitable style, from the bluesy Fast Ant, via the laid back Scratch The Surface and Wave, to the catchy Disclaimer and Let Go. All of the tracks are just Jo and her guitar, and they all pack a fair punch, being stripped-back and raw - the essense of acoustic music.

When listening to Jo Bywater’s music there are occasional echoes of Joni Mitchell, although she’s much closer in style to Hackney-based singer-songwriter Ruth Theodore who, like Jo, creates interesting, challenging songs played on the guitar in an uncompromising, ‘take no prisoners’ style.

So if you’re looking for new music to break the monotony of the dross that’s so prevalent today then why not give Cycle Grace Pulse Break a listen? It certainly worked for me!

The album is available to buy as a download from Amazon MP3 and CD Baby, and as a physical copy by emailing Jo through her website or by calling into News From Nowhere on Bold Street.

Jo's latest art exhibition is taking place at the Unity Theatre from Tuesday 25th January to Saturday 26th February, and she's celebrating with an evening of music on the opening night. Full details can be found on her facebook event page here.

© 2011 Graham Holland - graham[at]
Liverpool Acoustic – - © 2011 Graham Holland. Liverpool Acoustic.

"Music to Die For"

Jo Bywater releases her debut album Cycle Grace Pulse Break in a couple of weeks. She’s a terrific guitar player and knows how to write some good bluesy acoustic songs. The album launch is at Liverpool’s Mello Mello on Thursday 9th December; after that the album will be available for people to buy at gigs, from CD Baby, and in News from Nowhere on Bold St.
Great guitarist and songwriter who deserves a wider audience - Nick Wall

"Album Name: Passion is Timeless Artist: Jo Bywater"

Year/Label: 2007 / Independent

This really took me back to the moments I first heard Ani DiFranco’s early music and I feel in love with it.

These songs are really raw, strong, and emotional. I like it. Bywater has an excellent vocal style for this genre. It’s so gutsy and very vulnerable sounding too at times.

Her guitar style is powerful and deliberate.

Who says you need a whole band and tons of layers? I normally love that stuff, but when you’re as talented as Jo Bywater, you don’t need (and it’s better not to have) all that other stuff. It would just get in the way.

Amy. Collected Sounds ( A Guide to Women in Music. 20th Dec 07

Link to reveiw: ( - Collected Sounds

"Passion is Timeless"


7/10 - An all round winner.

Plucking and strumming her way through some substantial acoustic songs, Jo Bywater's latest release is heavy with a sense of musical importance, the likes of which might surround a much bigger artist.

It's a combination of Tanita Tikarum, Tori Amos and the darker moments of Alanis Morrisette and, on the whole, it works very well.

The record has an MTV unplugged feel to it. It sounds special, like a moment has been captured. There's a rawnedd and honesty that many full-band studio recordings fail to deliver.

All three tracks are really good and Jo uses the guitar in different ways to carve a uniqueness out of each one - that's what makes this such an interesting record.

Written By: Saur (The Mag)

Date: 02/11/2007 - The Mag


Debut Acoustic Solo Album: CYCLE GRACE PULSE BREAK
Self-released in December 2010

Demo EP: Passion is Timeless 2007



Yorkshire-born, Liverpool-based singer-songwriter Jo Bywater assumes the form of an innovative and inspired musical force. Solo and acoustic, her tunes are an infection of tasty riffs and blues rawness. A melting pot of styles and influence, injected with the rusty edge of vocal honesty. Dynamic, rhythmic, tactile, rockin’ poetry.

Her influences, though widely spun, have defined and quenched roots in alternative rock, blues and folk-rock. Ranging from Stevie Ray Vaughan, Blind Melon, Pearl Jam, Nuno Bettencourt and Red Hot Chili Peppers to more recent song writing appreciation in Neil Young, Jeff Buckley, Fiona Apple and Ani DiFranco.

She has been compared to acclaimed and respected artists including Janis Joplin, PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Dave Mathews, Ani Difranco and Jack White.

Jo has played extensively across the UK and is a familiar face on the Liverpool music scene. Festivals include a succession of Liverpool Music Weeks, Threshold Festival, International Pop Overthrow, Brighton, London, Liverpool and Manchester Prides, Hope Street Feast and London Vegan Festival.

Jo has been involved as a co-organiser in various events over the last few years, the most recent being Big Her Night, a charity evening to celebrate International Womens Day and Rock the Lane. She is a mentor on 'Girls into Rock' youth project for Sense of Sound, Liverpool.

She currently also ventures out with her band.

Her solo acoustic debut album ‘Cycle Grace Pulse Break’, released in December 2010, captures both the whispering gentleness and raw power of Jo’s expression. Bluesy, powerful and crafted. The album is available to buy through Jo’s website, various local independent outlets and at live performances.

Jo was also responsible for the album cover painting and artwork. More artwork can be found at the art link below.

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