The Immigrant and The Orphan
Reviewed by: Jane Roser
Dublin native/now Philly-based John Byrne is nothing less than a force to be reckoned with.
The Immigrant and The Orphan, released via Ri-Ra Records, is an impressive follow up to the John Byrne Band’s critically acclaimed After The Wake. It’s a gorgeous, nostalgic record filled with themes of loss, hope, history and lost loves; everything that tugs at your soul and spills your blood and guts with a wretched hook in your heart.
From the first track, a sea shanty-like tune called “Sing on Johnny”, the record grabs your attention: “When the wind blows ill just take a deep breath/Sing on Johnny in the salty wind, ’cause you can’t get to heaven on a sinking ship.”
The first single, a witty song titled “Dirty, Used Up, Chewed Up, Screwed Up Love” is sassy and fun and balances well with ballads such as the beautiful lament “Betsy Ross Bridge”.
The vocals and lyrics are strong and keep your attention, plus, I counted no less than 15 different instruments used on this album. That includes accordion, violin, cello, trumpet, dobro, banjo and electric guitar. Fifteen. That’s just bad to the bone.
The Immigrant and The Orphan scorches the earth and emerges tough as nails. You don’t get more bad-ass than that.