Hailing from Dallas, Texas, Blake Byrd is a musician/songwriter who started his project Blake Byrd Band in 2012 and then released Wherever You Are Now in late 2014. Byrd is a solid songwriter but he also seems mighty influenced by another band with a similar name called Dave Matthews Band. A number of songs sound like a B-side to a Dave Matthews Band song and Byrd sounds eerily similar to Matthews at times. Suffice it to say if you are a Dave Matthews band fan you will probably like this.
Despite the obvious influence Byrd shows occasional moments of originality. Unfortunately a lot of it doesn't come through because of the subpar production. Some songs are passable while other songs like “Encore” sound on par with a bootleg live recording. The disparity in production value is confusing to say the least. “High School Sweet Heart” sounds pretty decent from a production standpoint. “High School Sweet Heart” is also arguably the best-written song on the release but also the most derivative to you know who. The lead guitar part required technical skill and I thought the bass line sounded nice in the mix.
“Front Row” is probably the most original song out of the batch. I enjoyed the layered vocals and the walking bass line was pretty spot on. It’s easily a song I could see Byrd having the local bar patrons singing along to.
“Coffee Stains” wasn’t a badly written song but from a production standpoint it wasn’t easy on the ears. The high end frequencies are overwhelming and were in desperate need of some low end warmth. He closes with a simple acoustic tune named “Mama’s Scream.”
Here’s the deal and cold hard truth about Byrd. He can have a long career amusing audiences in bars and even medium sized venues but he will have a hard time breaking through to a larger audience than that because of the similarities to Dave Matthews Band. Byrd will have to reach in and find his own signature sound, which at this point is not evident. This is as good a case as any to kill your idols and let a wave of inspiration engulf you.
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