“Matthew Byrne sings with a voice as true as a compass needle and is a dab hand on his instruments as well,” writes James Keelaghan, adding, “His Ballads is one of the finest English-language traditional albums to come out in many a year.”
The Newfoundland native from a musical family has released three albums since his 2010 debut; the second, Hearts & Heroes, was the Canadian Folk Music Awards 2015 Traditional Recording of the Year. Byrne was described in Penguin Eggs magazine, published in Alberta, as “possibly the finest interpreter of traditional songs in the country.”
Joining Byrne on this tour is The Fretless, the CFMA Ensemble of the Year in 2012 and 2014. The quartet infuses traditional Irish fiddle music with modern energy, earning a 2016 Juno award for Instrumental Album of the Year, Bird’s Nest. Their latest album, Live From the Artfarm, was recorded live with a small audience to capture the sound of a session in an Irish pub. Fiddle player Trent Freeman explains, “We want everyone involved and there’s no better way than to have you in the room with us.” With Freeman are Karrnnel Sawitsky and Ben Plotnick, both on fiddle and viola, and Eric Wright on cello.
On this special tour, Matthew Byrne and The Fretless will perform separately and together. At Seekers Church, 276 Carroll St NW, Washington, DC 20012 (Metro: Takoma). $20; $10 members.