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Jonathan Byrd concert

Jonathan Byrd will be performing March 13 at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center.

Jonathan Byrd will be giving a concert at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center on Saturday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m.

"He displays John Prine's gift for stark little songs that tell big, complex stories." Guy Clark's lean melodicism; Lyle Lovett's wry mischief, and Bill Morrissey's knack for the revealing image," writes Scott Alarik in the Boston Globe.

A native North Carolinian, Jonathan Byrd grew up singing in the Southern Baptist church, where his father preached and his mother played piano. After four years in the Navy, he returned home to play in rock bands. It was at an old-time fiddle festival in the mountains of southwest Virginia where his writing began to change. Assimilating the sounds of southern traditional music, Byrd wrote new songs in an ancient style.

One of those first songs was "Velma," a murder ballad based on the true story of Velma Barfield, the last woman to be executed in North Carolina, and the murderer of Jonathan's own grandfather. The song so moved folk music legend Tom Paxton that he wrote: "What a treat to hear someone so deeply rooted in tradition, yet growing in his own beautiful way."

The venerated folk music label Waterbug Records has released his three albums: Wildflowers in 2001, The Waitress in 2003 and The Sea and the Sky in 2005, a collaboration with critically-acclaimed world music duo Dromedary. In the middle of his prolific five-year recording career, he was named a Kerrville New Folk winner, the most prestigious award in the singer-songwriter world. Previous Kerrville competitors include Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle.

Tickets are $12 advance and $15 at the door.