“Cackalack’s songs are dirt road visits with the neighbors outside your car window.” -Tim O’Brien
“Sly, subversive and able to say more in two words than most other people can say in a novel, Byrd is clearly one of the tent poles of contemporary folk music. He sounds like he’s straight from the back porch but he’s taken a long, hard look at life and knows how to bring it into focus. Basically recorded in one six hour take, this album is going to set your ears on fire, even if you aren’t a folkie. Hot stuff.”
-Chris Spector, Midwest Record.
What is Cackalack?
Esse Quam Videri. “To be, rather than to seem.” The only one of the original thirteen states without a motto, in 1893 North Carolina finally adopted one that implies, “We don’t need a motto. We Are.”
Jonathan Byrd is a seventh generation North Carolinian. “Cackalacky” is vernacular poetry for “Carolina.” Cackalack was recorded live in a converted garage on a sunny afternoon in Toronto, Ontario with no headphones, no listenbacks, no separation, and no overdubs. Recorded by gold and platinum record-producing Ken Whiteley, and accompanied by Canadian super-pickers from The Foggy Hogtown Boys and Creaking Tree String Quartet, Cackalack is Byrd’s homeland manifesto.
Having recently made WFMT Midnight Special host Rich Warren’s “50 Most Significant Songwriters of the Past 50 Years”, a list which includes giants like Bob Dylan, John Prine, and Joni Mitchell, Jonathan approaches his work on Cackalack with the most ordinary of materials: Chicken wire. Concrete. Roofing tacks. He takes us to real, everyday places. The Outer Banks, where wild ponies still run. Rockwell, where Byrd sings a song to his father’s ashes. And 95 South, a great river of humanity that brings us rolling back south from a hard tour.
Cackalack is non-fiction, in other words. Lived-in songs, recorded live by an all-acoustic cast in an afternoon. Being, rather than seeming. Byrd’s best work to date. Lyrics enclosed.
1. Chicken Wire
2. Wild Ponies
3. I Was an Oak Tree
4. Reckon I Did
5. New Moon Rise
6. Dungarees Overalls
7. Father’s Day
8. White Oak Wood
PS there are SIX ghost tracks here that show up on your desktop as “Livers and Gizzards”: “Baby,” “Amelia, My Dream,” “Arkansas Traveler’s Check,” “Blackberry Blossom,” “Dream Life,” and “Maureen.”
The Cackalack Crew:
Jonathan Byrd- guitar and vocals
John Showman- fiddle and vocals
Brian Kobayakawa- bass and vocals
Chris Quinn- banjo and vocals
Andrew Collins- mandolin and vocals
Treasa Levasseur- piano, accordion, and vocals
Corin Raymond- vocals
Ken Whitely- National Steel and vocals
Recorded by Ken Whitely and Nik Tjelios at Casa Wroxton in Toronto, Ontario
Mixed by Jonathan Byrd and Jerry Brown at The Bonus Room and The Rubber Room in Chapel Hill, NC
Mastered by Charlie Pilzer at Airshow Mastering in Takoma Park, MD