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Jon Byrne - It's Boring Being in Control

  by Russell Ferguson

published: 21 / 4 / 2009

Jon Byrne - It's Boring Being in Control
Label: Militant Entertainment
Format: CD


Passionately performed debut album from Barrow-on-Furness based acoustic singer-songwriter Jon Byrne, who was discovered in London busking on the Portobello Road by Mick Jones of the Clash

Life seems to be on the up for Jon Byrne. His debut album, ‘It’s Boring Being In Control’is just out, and, with a tour to promote it in the pipeline, things couldn’t be better for the man. Apparently Jon was spotted by Mick Jones of Clash fame busking on the Portobello Road in London. Mick booked him there and then for one of his Carbon Casino cabaret nights. He has also spent some time with the Rotten Hill Gang (a Westway collective that includes members of Big Audio Dynamite and Groove Armada as well as Mick Jones himself), and there are a lot of musicians who are fans of his work including Tom Hingley of the Inspiral Carpets, Mike Joyce of the Smiths, Billy Bragg, former Oasis guitarist Bonehead and Pete Wylie from the Mighty Wah. With so much going for him how does Jon's album fair? He can be described as an acoustic singer/ songwriter, but it is hard to pigeonhole him beyond that. He has a gritty voice that doesn’t always reach the notes that he is aiming for. Or does he just sing with so much passion that he strains his voice? There are times when he a lot in common with the likes of Johnny Cash but there are times too when you can hear the influence of Billy Bragg coming through. There is a dry, sometimes-dark sense of humour in his songs, but I can see some people missing the point in some of his lines. The song ‘Cigarette’ has the verse, "Well she pulled out a gun/She said get naked in my car/I said Ok then I will/She said now darling for a thrill/You can wear my bra." On ‘Scumbag’ he complains about his neighbours and their way of living - "The father is always in and out of jail/The mother spends her time/ Getting violent drinking wine/Celebrating her two weeks out on bail." The album is full of many examples of John's often black view on life. "Cut throat bitch spin a honey trap half a mile/Tired out rock star trying to stay on the pile" are two others from 'Cocaine'. It is easy to see the appeal that John has with his sharp lyrics. He, however, sings with more passion than talent. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as many other lead singers fall into a similar category and they just make the best of their voice and play to their strengths. The hurdle Jon will have, however, is that he will be sometimes labelled a folk singer and he will be expected to have a better-than-average voice. The songs themselves are well crafted. They also involve a lot of variations, including on some songs backing vocals from some soulful sounding singers, which is a neat twist. You do find yourself getting sucked into his word and visualising what he is singing. It far from a disappointment and the humour helps to move it It, however, rarely bowls you over, but I suspect his live performances will be a much more enjoyable affair.

Track Listing:-
1 Cocaine
2 Scumbags
3 Cigarette Song
4 Impossible
5 Wonderful Woman
6 Sunshine
7 Voices
8 No Future Generation
9 Nothing My Dear
10 Don't Let Life Get You Down
11 Halfway to Ruin
12 Funny Old Town

Visitor Comments:-
249 Posted By: Ade Wicks, Philadelphia,USA on 27 Jan 2010
I was very shocked to read the last review of jon byrne's,its boring being in control. This guy must not know REAL music when he hears it! jon byrne is a fantastic singer,guitarist and friend. all his tracks are original which is much more than the other artist that made it big these days.He is a very talented,poetic and passionate guy and all of these fantastic attributes can be heard in this album. i am very honored and blessed to know jon and to have heard his talent. keep buying the album guys,you wont regret it! (despite what this geezer has said!) Ade

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