Matthew Byrne

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2018 CFMA nominee Traditional Album and Traditional Singer of the Year

2015 CFMA winner Traditional Recording of the Year

Matthew Byrne was born into a family of Newfoundland music makers and his repertoire is heavily influenced by his unique musical lineage. This tradition thrives on the song – the weaving of a great story with a beautiful melody – and Matthew’s music reminds us how satisfying traditional songs can be when stripped down to these basic elements. His live performance offers tasteful and honest interpretations of folk songs delivered with polished guitar work and powerful vocals. His repertoire transcends time and place with traditional songs from both sides of the Atlantic.

Since bursting onto the trad scene in 2010 with his debut recording, Ballads, Matthew has swiftly earned his place as one of Canada’s most authentic and vital traditional voices. In that time, Matthew’s music has traveled well beyond the rugged shores of his homeland. His role as singer and song-finder in The Dardanelles has brought him to many major international festival stages including Winnipeg Folk Festival, Celtic Connections in Glasgow, UK, and The Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland, Australia.

Matthew Byrne’s newest collection of traditional material (released August 11, 2017) explores a unique repertoire of songs from both sides of the Atlantic and continues Byrne’s journey through his rich musical lineage.
A guest appearance by Matthew’s dad (Joe Byrne) makes for a particularly special moment on this recording. Another highlight is an original ballad by Byrne called Adelaide, penned after discovering a fascinating family connection to a beautiful love story- “A traditional song just waiting to be written”, as he describes it. Byrne’s ever-evolving creative partnership with producer Billy Sutton shines throughout Horizon Lines with thoughtful interpretations of traditional songs anchored by Byrne’s polished
guitar work and commanding voice. Their treatment of the repertoire shows a mutual sense of when to build (with accompaniment from Newfoundland’s finest players) and when to let a story and its melody stand alone.

 

“Possibly the finest interpreter of traditional songs in the country, Hearts & Heroes certainly provides ample evidence.”

— Roddy Campbell, Penguin Eggs Magazine

“It’s increasingly rare to find male traditional singers who are not just good, but GREAT! Matthew is certainly in that truly great category.”

— Brian O’Donovan, WBGH Boston

“Matt’s interpretation of traditional songs is somehow fresh and ancient at the same time. And his voice is friggin’ perfect.”

— Alan Doyle

“Matthew Byrne sings with a voice as true as a compass needle and is a dab hand on his instruments as well. His “Ballads” is one of the finest english language traditional albums to come out in many a year.”

— James Keelaghan

“A rich collection of story songs, beautifully performed, arranged and produced. A ‘must have’ album, a great young singer and a breath of hope for traditional song in Canada.”

— Ian Robb

“Ballads is the solo debut of one of Newfoundland’s most authentic, vital and exceptional musical voices. Matthew Byrne is a talented storyteller. His attention to musical detail, his beautifully sweet voice and exceptional playing have made this album a hugely popular release here at Fred’s.”

— Fred’s Records