“Ballads” is the solo debut of one of Newfoundland’s most authentic, vital and exceptional musical voices. Matthew Byrne is a talented storyteller. He has an innate knack for accentuating words and musical moments, adding a dramatic tone to a song. This collection of songs is an earnest, stark, sombre and picturesque representation of the authentic oral and narrative musical traditions of Newfoundland and the UK. He is a triple threat. His understanding of the ebb and flow of a narrative, his superb musicianship and his clean, clear tenor voice (we lovingly refer to him as Newfoundland’s James Taylor) all contribute to the splendor of the album. Ballads is an honestly delivered record. It is natural and has a timeless quality that is a product of Matthew’s acute sense of maintaining the structure and tradition of the songs. Byrne is an incredibly gifted musician and his confident playing hangs the perfect backdrop for his vocal. He is, in many ways, a folklorist. He comes from a long line of song collectors and in doing so; he is insuring the continuation of the art of storytelling and song that has become a cornerstone of the Newfoundland culture. His attention to musical detail, his beautifully sweet voice and exceptional playing have made this album a hugely popular release here at Fred’s.