Interview – Brad Byrd

Some solid music is well-deserved for this lovely Easter of 2017. While listeners are congregating far and wide to celebrate with families, their journey can be that much better with the sounds of Brad Byrd to accompany them. With the release of his new music video for Highest Mountain, the man should be a household name among music fans with ease. To get a better sense of the talented musician, Brad took some time to elaborate on his musical journey to date.

Music was a playful aspect of his life that turned into something much more. “I used to record myself on a Radio Shack tape recorder in my studio in 90’s Brooklyn. I never thought I’d ever make a real go of it. Then, one day after listening back, it just hit me that I knew I would be doing this for the rest of my life. I simply love all of it. The studio, the stage, the challenge, the drive and talent that it takes, and the feeling of performing is like nothing else. It’s equally both the most challenging and rewarding thing i’ve ever attempted.”

As he progresses within his craft, he notes his next steps and some memorable moments that have occurred along the way. “I’m passionate about all of my work, but I’d like to think that it is evolving and that it keeps getting better. That said, this new record, [‘Highest Mountain,’] is my favorite work to date. [Beyond the music] I have always had big dreams of playing in various venues and festivals, too many to mention. I can say that opening for Jay Farrar (Son Volt) last year at Pappy and Harriet’s out in the desert was a memorable one. [It was] such a cool and different venue. Jay represents a part of the industry that is grossly overlooked in my opinion. The music and artists I look up to are all in this indie-rock/alt country vein, and I personally feel like that is the ‘best’ music out there, however subjective it may be, and it bums me out that it gets the least attention, weird. Anyway, to share a bill with someone that’s been doing it so well and for so long is a real honor.”

Even with all of the amazing adventures, it is not always a piece of cake. “I once played a gig at SUNY Potsdam in upstate NY opening for Reel Big Fish. There were about a 1,000 college kids there looking to party and I opened the show with a solo acoustic performance. I tried to bring an upbeat set for them but it was clear they wanted to hear nothing but a big ol’ ska band. It was the first time I actually heard boo’s from the audience, fun times.”  

Even with the mass criticism going on in the music world, Brad gave his hopes and aspirations for its growth as an artist. “I feel like it’s still a mess, but moving in the right direction. I would love to see real music played by real musicians written by real singer/songwriters get the attention and respect it once received back in the 60’s and 70’s. We have drifted so far from that place, and I think it’s vital for our culture to ‘get back to the garden’ so to speak. It’s hard to stomach a lot of what I heard on these corporate playlists for the past 20 years.”

Beyond music, the man is eager to explore other mediums, but remains grounded with his tunes. “I’ve always had an interest in film. Perhaps one day I’ll scratch that itch more, but for now my focus is still on seeing this catalog develop. I feel like it’s taken me three records now to hone in on my sound, but I’m always interested in pushing the boundaries. My band and I are currently experimenting with some more psychedelic rock sounds on this new song of mine that will maybe be on the next record. I enjoy making departures here and there but sticking to the script is also important.”

Inspirational musicians come easy for Mr. Byrd. “There’s so many, but in particular, Joseph Arthur. I love how he’s always leaning into his art and not giving a fuck and just doing it. Too many artists over think it and end up hiding for too long, and I’m trying to not be one of them. His sound, and live show, and the fact that he paints is also super inspiring. Not many musicians are true ‘artists,’ although I don’t want to insult anyone, but there are people out there that really embody their work and live and breathe it and he’s one of them.”  

Luckily, Brad is always busy. “Well, I’m wolfing down a salad at the moment then i’m off to play ice hockey tonight… It’s a competitive league. I’ll be pretty beat when I get home, [going to go to] bed early… I’m hoping to get this new record released soon, along with another video, and then tour this summer into the fall. I’d love to have another record ready to go again for this time next year. Already working on the next one!”

Jam On.

Give a listen and a view to Highest Mountain below:


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