Jonathan Byrd and the Pickup Cowboys play White Horse, Jan. 15



Jonathan Byrd is a seventh-generation Carolinian, son of a preacher father and piano-playing mother, a Navy veteran, and a songwriter whose lean and closely observed songs are creating quite a buzz. He and the Pickup Cowboys, who Byrd calls his “chamber twang” band, are currently on tour, with a stop scheduled at the White Horse Black Mountain on Friday, January 15 at 8 p.m.

Following his Navy hitch Jonathan Byrd returned home to play in rock bands, but after attending a Virginia old-time fiddle festival his sound began to shift toward a rootsier style as he assimilated Southern traditional music. He used the ancient sounds as the foundation for his new songs; stark, sharp vignettes telling complex stories with wry humor and origin imagery. After ten years of touring and seven highly praised albums, Byrd is a singer and songwriter whose time has definitely come.

The Pickup Cowboys are Johnny Waken (electric guitar, mandolin, saw, harmonica, washboard, banjo, harmony vocals) and Paul Ford (cello). In 2006 the two musicians joined the Paperhand Puppet Intervention, a troupe featuring giant puppets, stilt walkers and live music, and both joined forces with Byrd in 2009. Multi-instrumentalist Waken can shade the band’s sonic palette in a number of directions, from noir-ish electric guitar tremolo to folksy sparkle. Byrd claims that Waken has “got more rock’n’roll in his mustache than most major cities”. Ford and his creative cello lines have been missing from the stage recently as he battles stage four brain cancer, and upcoming Chapel Hill benefit for him sold out as friends and fans showed their support.

Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 advance/$12 door.
Advance tickets available online at:

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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