Add Jeff Byrd & Dirty Finch to the conversation when talking up the quality roster of local Americana/alt-country acts within state lines. "I think we fit comfortably in the middle of it all," Byrd replied when asked where his Finches fit in with the flock of like-minded rootsy acts. "We've never really tagged ourselves as being any specific style of music, but I do think there's a huge audience of people who dig that 'Americana' or 'alt-country' style and don't even realize how accessible it is right here in New England."
Byrd's experience within the local music community dates back about a decade or so as former member of (former Best Music Poll nominees) the Audiocentrix. In 2002, he was invited to perform at a Jeff Buckley birthday tribute show in Chicago, and he recently shared the stage at the Gram National in Boston, a salute to Gram Parsons. The band has become card-carrying members of the Boston-based New England Americana community, which recently held a successful event at the Hard Rock Cafe. Byrd reports the crew has shows planned through the spring (including the Met on January 5 and the 201 on February 18) and is hoping to book an East Coast tour and "maybe get down to Nashville for a few gigs."
There's a sunnier side to the brand of whiskey-fueled, downhome tunes crafted by the quartet on their self-titled full-length debut (pick it up at jeffbyrddirtyfinch.com), and while Byrd may not light the world ablaze with his lyrics, the disc has more than its share of noteworthy moments.
Jeff Byrd & Dirty Finch opens with "Draggin' Bones," as Byrd drops bittersweet couplets like "I been pickin' locks and stoppin' clocks to quell the hands of time/It's a million to one I'll see 41, but I'll live while I'm alive." Bassist Shawn O'Brien handles lead vocal duties on "Slaughter Rule," and we'll give guitarist Dan Simpson a pass when he lets loose the lines, "You're strong like a supercell and I'm flat like Tornado Alley" and "wring out your heart and hang it on a windy clothesline" on "Supercell." The special moments arrive when Byrd and his mates kick back and jam out on "To Be Within/Without" and "Probably Maybe." A revamped version of early Byrd favorite "Raining Somewhere" is also worth looking up. Byrd sounded enthusiastic about his current Finch lineup with O'Brien, Simpson, and drummer Steve DelTufo, and said the band has already begin working on material for another album to be released "around this time next year."
Byrd & Dirty Finch have been playing for just two years and have maintained a steady schedule of hitting just about every venue statewide, from Chan's in Woonsocket to the Bon Vue in Narragansett, where JB&DF will return to host their CD release party.
"The Bon Vue has been very gracious to us over the last couple of years, and we want to spread the word that it's still a great place for live music on Friday nights," Byrd said. The band had the option of charging a cover, but declined.
"It's a celebration of the album, and we want people to come in and feel like they're at a party in our living room, with a chill, laid-back atmosphere."
JEFF BYRD & DIRTY FINCH CD release party | Friday, December 17 @ 9 pm | Bon Vue Inn, 1230 Ocean Road, Narragansett | 401.789.0696 | 21+, free | jeffbyrddirtyfinch.com