~SOLO DEBUT ALBUM~
~FEBRUARY 5, 2013~
New York, NY (January 16, 2013)—Guitarist/Singer-Songwriter Ricky Byrd will release his solo debut Lifer on February 5, 2013 (Kayos Records). Recorded in Nashville and New York City, Executive Produced by Ray Kennedy (five-time Grammy Winner, Steve Earle, Ray Davies, Sheryl Crow) and co-produced by Byrd and Bob Stander, it features Byrd’s knack for classic hooks and jagged riffs, which gloriously sets the table for cut after meaningful cut.
The former longtime Blackhearts guitar slinger whose monstrous power chords helped define Joan Jett & The Blackhearts “I Love Rock & Roll”, is a restless New York City poet who carries a torch for the town he loves, along with enough handbags and glad rags to make you feel like it’s 1974 all over again.
But of course, it’s not, it’s 2013, so Byrd has created his defining musical statement, Lifer, which features 11 original odes to what got him here in the first place; British rock and roll, soul, R&B, AM radio, FM radio, the Honeymooners, Groucho Marx and Dorothy Parker, to name a few things. You’ve got to understand: Ricky Byrd is a slave to what he loves, and we all reap the rewards with Lifer.
“My main goal with this record was to try and craft the songs with the same heart and soul that filled the music I listened to as a kid in my parents Bronx apartment -- the music that even at that young age, made the hair go up on my arms,” states Ricky.
The early Rolling Stones are what gave him the original reason to believe, and their misfit awkwardness was something he related to. It’s what he felt and they were what he wanted to be. It’s what The Who and Mott The Hoople did to him. So he grows up and ends up playing with Daltrey, Ian Hunter and lots of other idols. Now the circle completes. The kid from the Bronx finally creates the record he was put here to make, on his own terms, by his own rules and with all the swagger, attitude and street smarts he first honed as a punk kid hanging out in the back room at Max’s Kansas City.
Awash in the warmth of organs, pianos and guitars woven together with the jaded, wasted elegance of all the best Faces records, Lifer reflects the best elements of what made his favorite music so special in the first place. Spoken asides and soaring choruses punctuated by the Stax-flavored horns and the most soulful of backing vocals blend into one funky rock'n'roll stew.
We’re also reminded across each track that Byrd is a guitarist first. He never overplays, choosing instead to weave tasteful, tuneful solos that are as efficient as they are inspired; all bluesy, boozy and backroom.
The album kicks off with “Rock ‘n’ Roll Boys,” an over-the-shoulder tribute to the old glitter glam haunt Max’s, where Byrd got his first real taste of the other side of life. “Foolish Kind” in particular is a time-machine all its own, replete with sunny organ fills and Byrd’s whiskey-soaked guitars weaving rich tapestries together as one as they do throughout the entire album. The soulful plea “Wide Open,” the tongue in cheek “Married Man” and the driving “Harlem Rose” all stay true to Byrd’s vision of making the music that first captivated him, but it’s the closer, “Turnstile ‘01” that may give the listener the deepest pause. It’s Byrd coming to grips with post-9/11 New York City, his chiming valentine to the Big Apple, a poignant, plaintive downtown tribute that rings things out exquisitely.
Subways are running slow, still I’ve got to smile I’m heading downtown to you; my heart won’t stop beating wild Girl I’ll meet you By the turnstile
Simply put, this is rock and roll for people that miss this kind of rock and roll.
For more information on Ricky Byrd or to pre-order Lifer, please visit:
1.) Rock ‘N’ Roll Boys
2.) Let’s Get Gone
3.) Foolish Kind
4.) Ways Of A Woman
5.) Wide Open
6.) Dream Big
7.) Harlem Rose
8.) Married Man
9.) One Less Love
10.) Things To Learn
11.) Turnstile ‘01
# # #
“Indeed, Lifer is a celebration of the type of compact, hooky songwriting and radiant guitar crunch that characterized classic rock and roll.”
“Listen to Lifer and you’ll hear strains of a variety of classic rock, soul and blues artists that emerged during the 1960s and early ‘70s, from Otis Redding to The Rolling Stones to Rod Stewart to Mott the Hoople.”
-ABC Radio Network
“On the album, Byrd takes us on a musical journey through the different eras of rock and soul that have defined him as a player and when it comes down to it, a person. "
“The album is confident and celebratory, the sound of a guy starting a fresh era in an already-accomplished career.”
-New York Times Syndicate
“Certainly, Byrd not only knows how to play rock & roll but he knows how to throw spirited salutes to his favorite acts, turning out a terrific Ian Hunter tribute in the opener "Rock N Roll Boys," approximating the ramshackle heart of Ronnie Lane on "Foolish Kind," easing into a tight Memphis soul groove on "Ways of a Woman," conjuring the guitar tapestry of Keef and Woody on "Dream Big," while knocking out a good Chuck Berry number on "Harlem Rose." For as many echoes of idols as there are here, Ricky Byrd doesn't seem stuck in the past; rather, he's carrying the flame for good old rock & roll, and Lifer makes a convincing case that the guitarist is part of that long, storied tradition.”
-All Music Guide
“All those great '70s artists — The Stones, Bowie, Mott the Hoople, Humble Pie, et al —were absorbed right into Byrd's creative bloodstream and transfused right into this new album.”
“…the [Bronx native] performs the 11 original compositions with such enthusiasm and exuberance… Those who are familiar with Byrd’s guitar work only via Blackhearts music will be pleasantly surprised by his soulful vocals and fine songwriting.”
“Beyond its myriad splendors – crunchy, zippy, easy-to-like tunes; clear, concise, evocative lyrics – is Byrd's wonderfully vibrant guitar playing, an idiosyncratic mix of punchy inventiveness and puckish humor.”
“Determined to help revive that classic 70’s rock and roll style and sound, guitarist Ricky Byrd is identifying himself as a powerful musical presence…”
“If Ricky Byrd wasn’t born to rock, suffice it to say he was raised in its service.”
"THIS is what rock and roll is SUPPOSED to sound like: great songs, great riffs, and rough, sweaty vocals. Ain't no auto-tuning here: Ricky Byrd's rock is alive and well, thank you!"
-Ken Dashow, Q104.3 Classic Rock New York
"This is the record for all of us that cut our teeth on the Stones, Mott, Bowie, the Faces - the stuff that never gets old. Ricky's guitar playing is inspired, and he wears his New York heart on his sleeve, delivering honest, bluesy, beautiful odes to all the things he loves; a very cool thing given his amazing taste. With Lifer, Byrd reminds us why we fell in love with rock and roll so much in the first place."
-Chris Epting, Music Journalist/Author