Link to Living Tradition Homepage





MATTHEW BYRNE - Horizon Lines

MATTHEW BYRNE - Horizon Lines
Private Label MB060417

Matthew Byrne comes from a Newfoundland family of music makers. His third album is a commanding set of songs mainly from the Canadian and British traditions. The sea, migration and romance feature strongly. It’s fitting that the only instrumental is a waltz composed for his wife for their wedding. His singing and playing on guitar and mandolin is accomplished and well paced, with support including Paul Kinsman on keyboards, Josh Ward on upright bass, and the producer Billy Sutton on percussion.

Family connections are important. Long Years Ago came from a recording by his grandmother. The whaling song, Farewell To Tarwathie, was sung by his uncle Pat Byrne. On Allister MacGillivray’s Kitty Bawn O’Brien, Matthew leaves the singing to his father Joe. One of the best songs is Matthew’s own Adelaide, a moving love story concerning his aunt. He rightly calls it a traditional song waiting to be written. Another highlight is the unaccompanied The Woods Of Truagh, which sets a romance against the background of the Irish Confederate Wars of the mid-seventeenth century. It’s a simple telling of the story, in contrast to the sentimental tone which is often apparent on the album.

In my experience as a reviewer, the albums which reach us from Canada are reliably good. This one is certainly no exception. The accompanying PR says that UK tour dates are to be announced soon, so maybe you’ll catch Matthew at a club or festival.

Tony Hendry

Secure On-line mailorder service
Many CDs we review are available from The Listening Post.
Check to see if this CD is available.

The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 124 of The Living Tradition magazine.