Shawn Byrne
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Shawn Byrne

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1991 | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1991
Band Americana Country




"Real country music still exists, and it exists in Shawn Byrne."

Sometimes it takes only one note to bring you back to a long forgotten memory. Then again, it just may be the instrument playing that note, that will allow you to journey back in time. For him, it's the haunting sound of the accordian that brings him back to his youth. He was just a lad, but he can still remember it like it was just yesterday.

His father was a hard working, blue collar American who worked as a lineman for the local electric company. He worked hard all day and even throughout the night, especially during storms and hurricanes. After work, like any typical father in the 1970's, he would stop off at the local tavern for just a nip or two.

On the weekends, well that was a different story. His father was a member of a local polka band called The Happy Travelers. The group was not your typical polka band as they had a full horn section that turned them into a power house when it came to music.

To this day, he can still hear his father tell the old joke "Yeah, we're the Happy Travelers, were not happy and we don't travel." Nonetheless, he remembers sitting in the living room of the old house with it's shag carpet, listening to the beautiful music his Dad and friends would create.

Music has always been a part of his life. He smiles and his face lights up as another memory comes into his mind's eye. His memory flashes back to a little boy sitting on the floor with a 45 record player. With his father gone all the time and his mother not seeing eye to eye, tensions were high in his house hold.

"My Dad was a drinker and he came home pretty buzzed every night from work and he was gone playing music every weekend." shares Country Music singer and songwriter, Shawn Byrne. "There was a lot of friction between him and my mom. It was rough for a lot of years until they got divorced. But as a young kid, you find ways to escape. I went for the records and headphones. I absorbed, even from the earliest, earliest, earliest memories - I remember my first birthday present I ever got was a little 45 record player. I was probably four-years-old. I got 'Cupid' by Sam Cooke, the 45. I got 'Sailing' by Kris Kristofferson. 'Let My Love Open The Door' by Pete Townshend and there was one other song, record that I got for my birthday that year. That was it! I was just addicted to records. We had one of those big council record players, with the tubes in it, that just sounds awesome! My Dad's record collection was Beatles... we had every Beatles record, we had every Rolling Stones record. We had Hank Williams. We had Johnny Cash. We had all this honky tonk stuff. But I became obsessed with the Beatles. I would just get lost in the White Album and just put headphones on and just stare off into space. I would just like meditating on the notes. Those records had all the was just amazing to me. The music was beautiful, the melodies, the was amazing. It just blew my mind. For years, all I did was listen to records. What I was doing was, and I didn't know it, I was training my ear. Fast forward almost thirty years and I'm still doing it!"

Great country music entertainers do not come from places like rural Connecticut, or do they?

The road from Middletown, Connecticut, to Nashville, Tennessee, clocks in a nine-hundred and ninety-four miles, but it's quite the journey. Especially if you're trying to become a country music singer.

For Shawn Byrne (pronounced Burn), his journey has led him to meet some very interesting people along the way. His vast love and respect for music persuaded him to delve into learning how to play the guitar. The self taught musician ended up at Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music. For Shawn, learning formal instruction did not work into his mentality of what music was.

It was a simple job and meeting a very talented handicapped woman, that led him to the Perkins School for the Blind. Byrne was so inspired by what his charges could create that he decided to take the ultimate plunge into the music industry by heading to Nashville.
With a lot of hard work and a bit of elbow grease, Shawn had become one of Nashville's most sought out guitarists and demo singers. Soon he found himself working and touring with country music's top artists like James Otto, Rodney Atkins, Mark Collie, Ashton Shephered and Kelleigh Bannen. Although the work was good and it paid well, it really wasn't what he wanted in music.

By this time, Shawn had honed his writing skills to near perfection. Now it was his time to create an album worthy of the greats he grew up with.

On March 29, 2016, Shawn Byrne released his latest project called Slow Bullet. The album features an array of twelve genuinely honest songs that depict authentic subjects that are performed using real country music melodies. Most of all, he showcases his vast talents as a songwriter as each song is written or co-wrote by Byrne.

The album opens with a beautiful tribute song called "Haggard Song." Shawn mixes the instrumental styling that Merle Haggard was known for with his own musical style to create this tribute to the legend. The song is ingenious as Byrne uses the titles of Mr. Haggard's more notable songs to tell the story of a musician who moves to Nashville to follow in his musical hero's footsteps.
"I couldn't even pinpoint it, it's everything!" shares Shawn when asked who his musical influences are. "It's everything. I just can't say it's...I love Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash and it sounds so cliche, 'cause everybody says you know Merle Haggard and Waylon.
"Ray Charles he said one of my favorite quotes and I like to steal this quote all the time - Ray Charles said there's only two kinds of music...good and bad.' That's kind of where I'm at. I love anything that's good, anything that moves me and speaks to me, I love. I just can't say I love one artist. Who's my biggest influence? All of them. Put 'em in a bucket and I'll dump 'em on your desk! There's a hundred of 'em!"

Shawn teams up with Chuck McCarthy to write a tribute to the West Virginia coal miners who lost their lives in a song called "Diamonds And Coal." This sincere ballad conveys the message of two different worlds, the coal miners and the owners of the mines.

Another tribute song that Shawn includes on this extraordinary album is called "Lucinda." At one point in his career, he worked with a band that opened for the legendary singer and songwriter Lucinda Williams. Byrne does his best to capture the persona of Ms. Williams in this country rock song.

Symbolism is quite prevalent in writing a good song and what would a good country album be without a song about trains? Shawn brilliantly uses the symbol of a train wreck to depict an unhealthy relationship in "Off The Rails." This song combines a bluegrass baseline melody and the traditional sounds of Hank Williams with a slight rock-n-roll acoustic guitar riff to create an inventive song.

Shawn taps into his love and respect for Johnny Cash as he includes two quite comical songs with "Titty Pink Cadillac" and "Beer Tree." Both songs are based on true stories...

"This girl, I know, told me about her Grandfather, that's a true story. Other than I made up some of the other bits." laughs Shawn. "He was this eighty-year-old playboy living in Texas and he drove what he called his 'titty pink Cadillac.' So I had to write that one. It just made me laugh...I had to put that one to a song. He was just a rancher in Texas, a cool drink of water who just happened to be an old guy. She told me that he would tell her that he taught Elvis how to play the guitar. That Elvis, in his younger days, would stay at his ranch when he was passing through Texas and that he taught Elvis how to play some chords. So he had this legendary status. I have this whole picture in my head of this guy. Pretty much what you hear in the song is mostly fiction. But I figured if an old guy like that is driving around in a titty pink Cadillac and he supposedly taught Elvis how to play guitar - God knows what else he did."

Shawn paints the picture of this 'legend' using a classic Texan - Bob Wills style melody. This is the first of several songs that will hit our list of Top Songs of 2016, while earning the nomination for the Spirit Award's Song of The Year Award.

Perhaps one of the best songs on this album is found in "Beer Tree." Performed as a half sung and half spoken word song, this captures a Jeff Foxworthy type character as it tells a true story of a practical joke.

"I must've been four, or five, or six...I don't know. I was pretty young and my Dad was a big beer drinker. We're talking the 70's now, you know. So he always had a long neck Bud in his hand. He would tell me, exactly like the song...go out and plant it and I did." laughs Shawn. "I'd go out there and water the bottle caps everyday. Then one morning I went out and he had actually stuck the bottles in the ground. I'm like 'Oh my God a beer tree's growing!' Of course they're all laughing their ass off. So I had to write that one for my Dad...he gets a kick out of it!"

Shawn adds to this story as he embellishes it further. This too will hit our list of Top Songs of 2016 and earn a nomination as well with it's fun lyrics mixed with Johnny Cash-esc mentality that's performed in a Merle Haggard style melody.

Another song that will hit our list of Top Songs is "Old." The lyrics of this song refers to how old things are better as it rides a gentle and pleasant country melody that is quite reminiscent of the music George Strait would often sing.

Shawn loves to draw the listener into his songs with great melodies that are mixed with lyrics filled with metaphors. You will certainly find a great analogy in "Lonesome Ol' Guitar" as he compares a musician's guitar to a woman. Guitar lovers and musicians will positively connect to this one with it's beautiful message that rides sound waves provided by an acoustic guitar.

Lacy Green lends her vocal and songwriting skills to aid in "Big Crazy Love." Performed in a modern two-step country melody, this is a simple song about two people in love.

The absolutely best characteristic that Shawn holds as a songwriter is his deep-seated capability to capture subjects, feelings, people and places to create a song. Many songwriters have this skill, but none like Byrne. He has this unique talent to draw from the deepest reaches of his soul to create such passion that resonates through the speakers. The three remaining songs on this album are proof of his ingenuity.

The first song, "Shackled In Chains," captures his observations of seeing small town America losing the battle against big chain corporations. Performed in a soft southern rock style, Byrne uses a play on words while maintaining the listener's attention.

The second song, "Stars And Bars" is the song that truly captured my attention. I was searching all the albums waiting for review, for songs about soldiers for our Memorial Day Honors issue. Thinking this was one, I took a quick listen only to find one of the most powerful songs to come out of Nashville. In this song, Byrne captures the story of a boy who was raised in a family filled with hatred and animosity. The boy grows up following his family's beliefs only to land in jail, after killing another man. This song speaks volumes towards the history of racism as it tells one man's story.

"That story is real. I don't know anybody personally, but that guy exists." shares Byrne. "He exists hundred times over. There's probably people still in jail rotting because of something stupid...and they should."

In recent history, many Americans were in an uproar about the symbolism of the Confederate flag. Shawn uses the flag as a image to articulate an important part of American history. This is one song that needs to be heard to the last note as Byrne brings a sense of hope to the character in the last line of the song.

Many listeners will take this song the wrong way due to the lyrics. It was Shawn's respect for history and the hope for a better future that made him write such a compelling song.

The final cut on the album is the title cut. Performed as a graceful, heartfelt ballad; "Slow Bullet" is the perfect country music song. Through his life, Shawn has known many people who have had to fight a demon called alcoholism. He pays tribute to his friends in this honest ballad as he uses the metaphor of a bullet to a person who is slowly killing themselves with alcohol. This song is the final song on this album to hit our list of Top Songs of 2016, while earning a nomination for the Spirit Awards Song of The Year Award.

George Jones recorded a song in 1985 that asked the question "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes?" It spoke about all of the great legends, like Johnny Cash, and asked who was going to carry on the mentality, the heart and the soul that real country music has maintained over the years. Since the release of this song, the music industry has been searching for entertainers to carry on the legacy that was formed by such great legends like George Jones and Merle Haggard. Over the years, the music industry has tried its best to introduce us to entertainers that may be able to carry on that torch. But, over the years, the industry has failed to find that person or entertainer.

In listening to this album and speaking to Shawn Byrne, I am confident that we have found the answer to that old question "Who's gonna fill their shoes?" In each of these songs, Shawn is able to capture the spirit of the legends that he grew up listening to and assimilate that into his own music. So much so, that we pulled the entire album and nominated it for the Spirit Award's Album of The Year Award.

Please join us as we host Shawn Byrne and feature a cut-by-cut of this rare and extraordinary album on Strictly Country's Friday night radio show - Around The Campfire on July 22, 2016.

He was just a little boy who grew up with a love and respect for good music. Now, he's a man who helps create beautiful and awe-inspiring music. Ladies and gentlemen...Mr. Shawn Byrne... - Gina Kay Singerhouse - Strictly Country

"Across the Table with Shawn Byrne"

Hailing from Portland, CT, Shawn Byrne and I first bonded over our Connecticut roots; his from birth, mine from college. We talked about his life growing up. How his father was a part-time musician and full-time lineman for a local power company.

“My dad worked sixty hour weeks and pursued his band on the weekends. It was back in the 70’s so all kinds of music was popular, but his was a Polka band. They would always have two or three gigs a weekend for at least a couple decades,” he said almost in shock when reflecting on his dad’s schedule while he was growing up. “My earliest memory of me and music comes from 3rd grade, actually. We had an assembly based around ‘expressing and sharing art,’ so my friends and I formed a “band,” with no real instruments, of course. We played guitars on broomsticks and used pots for drums. We prepared two songs – a Men at Work track and ‘Jack and Diane.’ The morning of our ‘performance’ I snuck my dad’s Gibson Gold Top out from under his bed and brought it to school with me,” he laughed.

I think he could tell by my face that I was wondering what sort of repercussions came of that action and he smiled when he said, “my Dad wasn’t mad. His response was more along the lines of, ‘well, I guess we have to get you a guitar.'”

Excluding his latest project, my favorite collection of Shawn’s work has to be, Pine Trees, Cheap Wine and the Moon. It’s a country album with traces of blues that truly showcases him as an artist and after meeting him, his personality as well.

“When it comes to inspiration, I think it’s more of what, than a who,” he explained. “I’m really inspired by everything good and bad, but I’m mostly motivated lyrically by things I don’t like.

That being said, my first musical inspiration growing up was U2. In 1987, they hadn’t truly broken yet and my mom took me to go see them in Hartford. I was 15 and it was a real religious experience for me. That’s when I started taking guitar seriously and slowly taught myself; just learning from my mistakes as I went,” he confessed.

As for his career today, Shawn says the writing process is different every time.

“I’m usually inspired by something someone says that hits me in the gut,” he said, “I usually get a title or idea first and the music comes second. It’s like a stew, you know? Everything mixes together and sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but you still made it.”

“I lived in Boston for ten years in the 90’s and I wouldn’t say Nashville is better or worse, it’s just different. Everything is so much more saturated in Nashville that when you play it’s harder to make fans and build that base. The bread and butter is getting on the road and out of town. It’s definitely a good place to be based out of and call home, but you can’t constantly play for free,” he joked.

In 2016 Shawn has a lot going on with a seven-week tour throughout the Northeast, which is super exciting for him to be doing as the front-man.

“I toured for eight years straight playing for major label country artists. I was lead guitar for Rodney Atkins, Kelleigh Bannen and James Otto. I never really pushed my own career when I moved to town thirteen years ago because I was out on the road so much, but my heart was always focused on my own stuff. Now my wife and I are hitting the road in an RV and I couldn’t be more excited. I am so lucky to have her. We’re just trying to break-even while on the road and have fun while doing it.”

While all of his songs are his “little babies”, Shawn says “Lonesome Old Guitar” that is on his latest record [premiered March of this year] is his favorite that he’s written to date.

“I wrote it before I got married during some real lonely times. Several relationships didn’t work out. I’m basically comparing the shape of my guitar to that of a woman and trying to rely on music rather than people to make me happy.”

Shawn is a true musician with an artistic outlook on life. He values the people around him as much as the music they inspire him to make. He also brought a gift to our interview that I’ve sort of worn out since… In fact I’m happily surprised it still plays. Check out all of Shawn’s music during this month of amazing new releases and enjoy the lyrical stories and beautifully simplistic melodies that fill your speakers while you listen. - Livewell's Latest

"Shine on Music City - Shawn Byrne"

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of sitting down with Shawn Byrne and getting to know him better. Shawn’s charisma and passion for music is infectious and I believe is exactly what the music industry needs more of.

Shawn Byrne grew up in Boston and eventually made the move to Nashville. He grew up listening to his dad play polka music with his band, “Happy Travelers”, and knew from an early age that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps in music. With accolades such as: performing at the Grand Ole Opry, The CMA Awards, George Bush’s homecoming in Midland, TX, and sharing the stage with Rodney Atkins, James Otto, and Kelleigh Bannen, Shawn has had the opportunity to see what it takes to make it in the music industry. Shawn is currently on tour, and recently produced his own album, “Slow Bullet” (which was released in March). His ultimate goal, however, is “Anything I can do that I love”.

During our time together, I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him and watching him light up as we discussed the music industry and everything that he has been working on. In this interview, Shawn’s passion shines through even more.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years. What are your goals for the future in music?

In 10 years I hope to be healthy and happy foremost. I’d like to have a kid with my beautiful wife Amy. I’d love to still be playing, writing and performing. I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing that. I’d love to have grown as an artist and as a human being making a difference in the world. For my future music career? I’d love to have connected with a large fan base that appreciates and supports what I do. I want more than anything to be successful enough to go on the road with a full band and even a crew. That’s the ultimate goal for me. There’s no greater feeling than being on stage with 4 or five of your best friends making music right there in front of an attentive and appreciative audience. I’d don’t care about being famous, it’s more about being able to just simply do it and do it well to the degree that lots of people want to see how great the music is. The music is what it’s all about.

If you could perform with one artist or band, who would it be?

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Tom Petty is one of my heroes. The man has carved an incredible career for himself and he has done it without selling out. He plays the music he wants to play and he does it with integrity. Tom has cultivated an incredibly loyal and appreciative fan base which again, is my ultimate goal.

As a guitar player I’ve always admired Mike Campbell’s style. He loves old guitars and amps like me. He plays exactly what is needed for the song and his guitar parts, aside from Tom’s vocals, are one the most crucial elements in the Heartbeakers sound. My dream would be to stand onstage with Tom and Mike and the rest of the band and just play all the classics.

What are your hopes for the future of the music industry?

Well right now the internet is the iceberg that put a giant hole the Titanic know as “the music business”. It’s been sinking for a long time now and I think right now we’re seeing the tail end of the behemoth sticking out of the water and pretty soon the gurgling bubbles will be all that is left. Yeah, that’s pretty dramatic I know. Right now only the top artists are making any money on the commercial level and sadly popular music has been distilled down this one goal: How can we make as much money as fast as we can. The major labels and the corporate radio stations are all “in bed together” and are pumping out music that is the equivalent to high fat, high sugar fast food. I call it “McSongalds”. It’s working for them right now, but the industry has boxed out any artist who want’s to do their own thing. Who wants to create music that sounds original and actually says something. The current model for commercial success is one that encourages a homogeneous sound. Notice how on country radio you hear basically the same words over and over again. The same chord progressions and vocal phrasing. The same production. “McSongalds”. I must say it has been getting better. The trend is leaning towards songs with better lyrics and interesting musical ideas which is encouraging. Streaming is a huge problem right now and has completely decimated album sales. Why purchase a song when you can stream it. The problem is is that streaming music barely pays the songwriters. So there’s a lot of really depressing things going on in the music business and there’s some exciting things going on as well. As an independent artist, the internet is an incredible way to reach people who would never have known about me before. It’s an incredible marketing tool but sadly that doesn’t always amount to record downloads.

For the future of the music business, I want to see a world where artists and songwriters can get paid fairly for their work. Right now you can have millions of streams on Pandora and not make enough to pay rent. That is just simply not right. I’d like to see a model that exists that simply is fair.

With a desire to produce honest and real country music (and a family background deeply rooted in music), Shawn has a true understanding of the music industry and the importance of doing what you love.

Be sure to check out Shawn Byrne‘s music on his website: and his Youtube channel, or connect with him through his social media links below. - Lindsey Becker

"Foodie Friday Interview: Music, Camping, and Grilling for Labor Day Weekend with Shawn Byrne"

Good Afternoon Shawn! Thank you so much for talking with Battered and Brewed!

I heard you have been touring in your RV with your family this summer, tell us how that came about?

About a year ago we bought an RV. It’s a 2008 27′ Jayco Greyhawk Class C. It’s perfect for my wife and I, and our year old pup named Bucky. We’d been looking for a used RV for about a year but just never found “the one,” until one came up on Craiglist that was exactly what we wanted and in our price range. About 6 months ago, I released my 3rd solo record “Slow Bullet” and my wife Amy does all my booking and road managing. She’s quite good at it. So the three of us are currently in the middle of a 7 week tour playing small venues and house concerts from the forgotten coast of Florida to Northern Maine.

I am sure cooking has been a challenge and experience! What does your kitchen setup look like.

The RV has a small kitchenette with an oven, stovetop, and microwave. To be honest we never use that stuff. Well, the microwave from time to time to heat something up. We do all of our cooking outside on the grill. The RV has a built in gas grill station that attaches to the side.

How cool! Without a lot of space for storage how do you get by with limited ingredients? What is a must have in the pantry?

We keep it simple. The essentials in the pantry are olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, Greek seasoning, and lemon pepper. Sometimes we pick up a local seasoning if we find something that strikes our fancy. Also in the panty is usually some good sourdough or Italian bread and red potatoes.

With Labor Day this weekend, whats a good recipe for camping?

I’m a fan of a good ole cheeseburger. Some hand pattied ground round (the good stuff) with some seasoning. Maybe just some salt and cracked pepper, cooked medium on the grill. Then throw some sharp cheddar or blue cheese on there with some grilled onions, lettuce, and tomato. The bun is very important to me. I usually skip the bun and toast up some nice sourdough bread on the grill. It’s gotta have a little crunch. Nothing beats a burger done right in my book. To compliment the burger we get some potatoes, chop em’ up, throw em’ in a little makeshift aluminum foil bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper, and throw it on the grill. Cook em’ till they crunch. Put it all on a paper plate, stick an Amercian flag in it, and serve it up!

Do you like to jam out while cooking?

I like a little music while I cook. Cook a little. Have a sip of beer. Cook a little more. Get a rhythm going. Make it fun.

What does your cooking play list look like?

When I’m cooking up a good ole American cheeseburger I like some good ole American country music in my ears. Anything from Hank Sr. to Jamey Johnson. I’m a big fan of Bluegrass music and the Grascals always put me in a good mood for cooking.

Do you find yourself eating out just as much as staying in the RV? Where do you like go to eat?

Sometimes we can’t cook and of course while we’re on the road we’ll need to eat out. We have a little system. While I drive, my wife Amy will get on her phone and start finding spots up the road where we could stop and get something good. She’s really good at finding great little locally owned sandwich shops. We’ll sometimes even route our trip so we can hit the places we know we love from other road trips. For instance when driving through Eerie, PA we go to Picasso’s Sandwich and Soups. Amazing! There’s a killer panini place just outside of Burlington, VT right by the airport called the Aviation Deli. They have a hot pastrami panini that could be a runner up for the best sandwich I’ve ever had. We always try to find something you can only get when your in that area. If we HAVE to get fast food we go for Chick Fil-A and Five Guys Burgers. Subway can suck an egg. Worst sandwiches ever.

What food is your food vice? You know, one you sneak in a little extra of when no one is looking.

French fries.

What is the weirdest thing you’ve eaten?

Hmm. That’s tough. I like interesting food, which I’ve heard some people call weird, but it’s not weird to me. Just delicious like hot and spicy kimchi soups are a favorite, and raw oysters are another. But weird? I don’t know. How about Haggis? I had it many times when I toured in Scotland. It’s all the stuff from the animal you probably wouldn’t want to eat (tongue, heart, kidneys, lung) all ground up with seasoning, oatmeal, and then encased into a sheep’s stomach. Then it’s boiled for 3 hours and served. It’s sounds disgusting, but I thought it was amazing. I ordered it everywhere I went over there. I even had a haggis pizza in Edinboro.

You keep a very busy tour schedule, where is one of your favorite places to travel and what’s the most memorable meal you have had?

I love it when we’re near the coast most of all. Anywhere that has fresh seafood, I’m a fan of. Places like Portland, Maine, Seattle, Apalachicola, Florida, and San Diego. I love mussels, clams, and oysters, so anytime I can get some I jump at the opportunity.

Now that you have been in Nashville awhile, where are some of your favorite places to get southern classics?

Nashville does have some gems. You gotta love the Loveless Cafe for fried chicken and biscuits. Monell’s in Germantown is the best family style joint in Nashville, in my opinion. I’m also a huge fan of hot chicken, that’s all the rage right now. Hattie B’s on Charlotte Pike is our go to. Also love Pepper Fire on Gallatin Rd in East Nashville, can’t go wrong.

Take us back to 2003, washing dishes at the Bluebird Cafe. What did you take away from that experience?

Yeah, I moved to Nashville when I was 30 and I’m 43 now. I left Boston wanting desperately to follow in my songwriting hero’s footsteps. Nashville was THE place to go, so I rented a U-Haul and just headed south. My best friend and songwriting partner, Chuck McCarthy, moved there a few months earlier and secured an apartment for us. I showed up and a few weeks later got a job scrubbing dishes at the Bluebird Cafe, arguably the most famous songwriter club in the world. All my heroes played there. I feel lucky I got to experience Nashville before it became what it is today. Nashville is starting to feel more like LA and corporate, which I’m not a fan of. Back in the early 2000’s, when I moved there, it was just a cool little town. Working at the Bluebird back then was a gift. Every night I got to listen to some of the best songwriters in the business. After the dinner rush, things would slow down in the kitchen, and I would get to stand in the back and watch the show. I saw the all the greats play their tunes like Guy Clark, Steve Earl, Don Schlitz, Lucinda Williams, Rodney Crowell, Danny Flowers, and the list goes on and on. I learned how to write great songs by proxy, just breathing the same air. The first time I got to play the Bluebird, I was working. I was literally washing dishes and the came back and said “there was a no show and they need another writer.” I took off my dirty apron and sang a few songs. It was so cool. It was a different place back then. It was fun and loose. Mostly everyone who worked there was a songwriter. When the place closed around midnight, we’d finish cleaning up and post up to the bar, usually with a guitar in hand. Sometimes the featured writers would stay with us and have a drink or ten. Cigarette smoke filled the room like a ghost. Back then smoking was still allowed, though I must say I didn’t smoke. (Shut up mom:). It’s that same feeling you get when you walk into an empty church. The people have all gone home and the place is empty, but there’s just some sort of energy in the air. I know it sounds cheesy, but that’s the only way I could describe it. Midnight was when the Bluebird really came to life back then. We all knew we were into something really special and we didn’t take it for granted. I learned a lot from my time working there.

Your second self produced record, “Pine Trees, Cheap Wine, and the Moon,” that was released in 2012 was great. Whats the story behind that title and whats you favorite cheap wine?

Thank you. That song was co-written with my two songwriter buddies, Chuck McCarthy and Todd Elgin. I thought of the title and liked it, so we just wrote a little love song around the title “pine trees, cheap wine, and the moon, these three things I know will get me close to you.” There’s just something romantic about being in the middle of nowhere in nature and listening to the crickets, staring up at the moon. And of course sipping on a little something. I’m more of a beer guy myself, but once in a while a little wine hits the spot. For a nice summer night like that, a little strawberry wine would be nice. Definitely homemade:)

Aside from your passion for food and music, what’s the one thing that really keeps you ticking?

Well, what keeps me ticking is just being around friends and family. And my dog Bucky. I love just being outside in nature, fishing, hiking, and listening to the birds. To me there’s nothing better than the sound of nature.

Finally for Battered and Brewed, If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be and what would you drink?

It may have to be Leonard Cohen. Aside from being a genius songwriter and lyricist, he’s a deeply grounded and spiritual man. I’d love to drink a nice whiskey on the rocks in a dimly lit bar. We’d both be wearing suits. And we wouldn’t talk. Just be. - Battered and Brewed

"Debbie's "On The Verge" - Shawn Byrne"

You will absolutely LOVE Shawn Byrne, and I guarantee after hearing our interview, you will always think of him when you hear "Jack & Diane!"

He's worked with so many artists you already know and love, including Taylor Swift! He's a great guy with a lot of heart and soul, and a passion to make music. It was great speaking with him, and getting to know his music! - Magic 98.3 Radio

"Shawn Byrne In Studio!"

Straight from Nashville, Shawn Byrne stopped by for an interview with Josette Rhodes on a 30A Songwriter Radio broadcast. Shawn is an established singer songwriter, with many songs picked up by various musicians, as well as his own original albums. Be sure to listen to the broadcast below, and to check out his website! - 30A Songwriter Radio

"Byrne, Baby, Byrne"

No one said you can’t write a good country song living in the urban Northeast, but it may be true that you’ll find more fodder on Southern terrain. Singer-songwriter Shawn Byrne make the pilgrimage from Boston to Nashville in pursuit of a career as a country artist, writing songs for the bright stars of Nashvegas and earning a SESAC award along the way. His music is canny, upbeat and polished to perfection. “Tough As This Town” celebrates the quiet nobility of small town life with big hooks and a vivid, visceral chorus you’ll want to sing along to. “Simpleton” is another romp and roll. Harmonicas wheeze and basses thump like a jug band that’s just getting warmed up. We happen to like the moodier stuff, from the driving, full-tilt gallop of “That Train Keeps Me Up All Night” to the dusty blues shuffle of “Ol’ Cook Pot.” Byrne’s a great songwriter … it’s only a matter of time before his rep spreads beyond Nashville city limits. -

"Critic's Pick"

Shawn Byrne takes an expansive view on the possibilities of roots music. On his new album, But I Digress, he shifts with self-assured grace from electric roots-rock and blues to acoustic tunes that draw on everything from Celtic airs to Cab Calloway-style vaudevillian swing. A New Englander who’s been in Nashville for a few years, he’s built a rep as a multi-threat talent: his clear low tenor has been used on country demos of songs written by Mary Gauthier, Kristin Hall, Mark Knopfler and Gary Louris, while his guitar has made him a valuable sideman (he recently toured Europe with Kevin Montgomery) and his songwriting earned him the lead-off cut on the last year’s Duhks album, Migrations. On But I Digress, his band includes bassist Tim Marks, drummer Johnny Richardson, organist Michael Webb and fiddlers Casey Driessen and the Greencards’ Eamon McLaughlin. For his 7 p.m. record release show, he’ll add the estimable Kenny Vaughan on guitar. The Basement —MICHAEL McCALL - Nashville Scene

"TMU Exclusive: Getting to know country music's Shawn Byrne"

Shawn Byrne isn't a name you would hear on country radio, however, he has been on the music scene for awhile now. He has played guitar for artists such as Rodney Atkins and Kelleigh Bannen. He has many talents which include playing instruments, writing songs and even singing. So who is Shawn Byrne? Well, let's find out. {continued at link above} - The Music Universe


"Slow Bullet" released March 2016
"Pine Trees, Cheap Wine, and The Moon" released 2012
"But I Digress" released 2007



Nashville based singer/songwriter, Shawn Byrne, is no stranger to the scene. With 20 cuts to his name, a SESAC Writer’s Award for “Ol’ Cook Pot” (recorded by The Duhks), television appearances on Good Morning America, Jimmy Fallon, the CMA Awards and many others, it’s no wonder why the Nashville Scene has labeled Byrne, “Nashville’s Best Kept Secret.”

Being born in the 70’s, Shawn’s musical roots were planted deep in his father’s eclectic record collection. With the timeless stylings of Cash, Willie and Waylon to the legendary sounds of The Stones, The Beatles and The Who circulating through his Connecticut home, it’s apparent how the creation of Shawn’s style came to life.
The journey that brought Shawn from Connecticut to Nashville led him through Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music where the self-taught musician learned that formal instruction wasn't in the cards. Several garage bands, a near death experience and a stretch living and working with special needs kids at the Perkins School for the Blind brought Shawn to the conclusion that if he was to make music his life then he would need to take the plunge and go where music and creativity can permeate an aspiring artist's life. A place where living masters of their trade share songs and licks in famed clubs such as the Douglas Corner and the Bluebird Cafe.

In fact it was in 2003 that the Bluebird Cafe found their new dishwasher. Shawn scrubbed lightly as to not drown out the songs being shared just beyond the kitchen wall by some of Nashville's most successful songwriters. During this time Shawn honed his writing and playing skills and not only became one the town's most sought out guitar slingers but also became an in demand demo singer working on sessions for MarkKnopfler, Mary Gauthier, Gary Louris and Kristen Hall under the guidance of Grammy winning producer Nathan Chapman.

Byrne has a seemingly endless list of accomplishments since scrubbing dishes at the Bluebird. He has shared the stage with some of Country Music’s finest including Rodney Atkins, James Otto, Ashton Shepherd, Kelleigh Bannen, Mark Collie and many others; he has played legendary venues like the Grand Ole Opry, The Ryman, Nissan Stadium during CMA Music Festival; performed in front of former president George W. Bush forhis homecoming celebration in Midland, TX and has been a part of countless songwriters festivals.

Shawn is adding to that list with the release of his latest full-length album, “Slow Bullet,” which consists of twelve masterfully written original songs. The title track showcases the flawless skills from musicians such as bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, Dwight Yokum) pedal steel player Dan Gaylsh (Rodney Atkins) and Fiddle player Eamon McLoughlin (Josh Turner, AshleyMonroe). Off The Rails gives the listeners an up-close look at Shawn’s diversity vocally and instrumentally and incorporates Jamie Johnson’s (The Grascals) distinctive sound to create one-of-a-kind harmonies. Each song showcases Shawn’s impeccable writing, performance and production skills. “Slow Bullet” proves that this hopeful dishwasher from Connecticut has found his spot in Music City and isn’t giving it up any time soon.