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Jon Byrd

Byrd's Auto Parts – 2007 (Longleaf Pine)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Jon Byrd

This debut from Jon Byrd's Auto Parts collective is a strong mix of originals and well-chosen covers, delivered by Byrd's engaging, scuffed-up voice and the able backing of his compadres.

Byrd and company cover a lot of ground here, and they cover it well. They start things off with Byrd's own "Jackknife," a bit of soft-shuffle acoustic country, and range through some minor-key, loping country rock ("Reputation") and hot-damn rig rock ("Freightliner Fever"). There's countrified Beatles ("Don't Let Me Down") and hard-shuffle Doug Sahm ("Be Real"), a sturdy cover (featuring vocal help from Shannon Wright of the Wrights) of Neil Young's mopey classic, "The Losing End," a steel-fueled, melancholic ode to closing time ("One Final Round") and, to finish things up, the railroad beat and hot guitar picking of a suitably blistering take on Cash's hit, "Blistered."

Sitting quietly among all of these, though, might be the disc's high point - Byrd, all by his lonesome with his acoustic guitar, delivering the remarkable bleakness of Butch Primm's "Mark My Word." Don't let this one slip under the radar.