‘Horizon Lines’ by Matthew Byrne - always a place for a singer with songs to steal your soul(May 11, 2018)
Delivering engaging narrative through song has long been the heart of folk music, wherever it originates. The best exponents of the ‘storytelling song’ not only wrap their tales ... traditional, contemporary or original ... around highly memorable music, they use their voices to ‘live’ the songs and by extension, allow their listeners to share that involvement. An exceptional interpreter of this proficiency is Canadian singer-songwriter Matthew Byrne with his latest album ‘Horizon Lines’ ... a collation of cherished tradition and sensitively crafted originals.
The immediate impact is the richness and presence of the man’s voice, followed by the engagement of the tales, command of the guitar and finally you realise just how much the combination absorbs your attention. Opening with a song learned from a recording of his grandmother singing ‘Long Years Ago’ the magnetism begins, once ‘River Driver’ arrives overflowing with emotion, the draw is complete. This is definitely not a ‘play and forget’ album, because whatever you’re doing could not hold your attention with ‘Horizon Lines’ playing ... the lure is that strong. The heart-rending grief within ‘Go To Sea No More’ is perfectly expressed, as is the powerful love within ‘The Woods of Truagh’ ... and if you’re not moved, you’re made of stone, then of course there’s the wash of feeling inside ‘Adelaide’.
With ‘Horizon Lines’ Byrne proves there’s always a place for a singer with the voice and songs with the message to steal your soul.
Review: Tim Carroll