Bobbo Byrnes – October: Album Review

A curious mix of classic Bowie, traditional folk and self penned songs culminate in an enchanting album from American Bobbo Byrnes.

Released: Out Now

Label: Self Released

Format: Digital / CD

Hailing from Annaheim, Californian troubadour Bobbo may be labelled an Americana artist but with this delightful mix of quirky songs he could be easily mistaken as eccentrically English. 

Opening with The Cold War which has mid 80’s brit pop band sound about it builds from an acoustic tune into electrical effects mash. Musically mysterious, it is also open to interpretation either a personal or political level. The Sea, has a retro English folk song quality with its strong strumming and seafaring theme.

The title track October is a haunting instrumental conjuring up dreamy lazy sunny afternoons. Of this track he Byrnes says it “captured a sweetness, a calm, a contentedness that was a new, unfamiliar feeling to me and I hope it brings the same feeling to you. And it sounds good loud.”

I must admit Bobbo is a brand new name on my listening experience list, yet when you hear his softly lilting vocals you feel that you’ve heard that voice before. The song titled Untitled has a calm early Coldplay feel to it with echoing acoustic guitar accompanying it. A Dylanesque type song, House of Cards is especially reminiscent when there is use of reverb when raising the vocal volume .

Sometimes, I must pay more attention to the lyrics, but drawn to the catchy chorus of Crooked Jack initially I thought this was another folky traditional English, John Barleycorn song. On becoming more observant this song would resonate with many a Lancashire folk song fan with its affinity to mining lore.

A sublime acoustic version of Bowie’s ‘Heroes’  strips the song down to its bare bones but not losing an ounce of its powerful message. Time Enough is pure Americana folk but without obligatory pedal guitar and percussion.  This is a delightful love song  yearning for two lovers to spend more time together. Too Many Miles links nicely  as he mournfully sings of the distance between him and a loved one.

Bobbo’s story-telling songs, which are sometimes autobiographical, ooze with passion and heartfelt thoughts. He would easily appeal to British audiences at any folk festival and be an instant hit as his songs have so much affinity with them.

For an album only a smidgeon over 30 minutes there is so much to enjoy and hopefully his attraction to local audiences will be recognised as he ventures over the pond to tour Europe. We can’t wait to get along to a show!

Whilst touring Europe he had the opportunity to record  at the Hansa studio in Berlin  and the Windmill Lane Studio in Dublin, heavily influenced by the iconic musicians who had recorded at the  venues he sums up the ethos of the whole album and his musical approach when Bobbo says:  “I went in with these songs I’ve been playing solo, mixed in some new ones that I had just written and captured them in a stripped down way. I brought my acoustic, a mandolin, an e-bow and a delay pedal and that, plus the sound of those hallowed halls, is all you hear. These songs have the traditional and sonic weirdness mixed together, just like me.”

Bobbo Byrnes: Website / Facebook / Instagram / Patreon

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1 reply »

  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to my album. I’m thrilled and amazed at the sound alikes you hear in my music. We’re all a mish mash of our influences and cool to hear that you hear some of them too.

    Am looking into UK Folk Festivals for 2024. Please let me know if you know of some that I should target. Thank you!

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