I can think of no other new solo performer that I have enjoyed more in recent times than Jon Byrne. His hilariously funny songs tell the truth about real life in this country, with a caustic wit that recalls the greatest of early 1960s’ kitchen-sink novel writers. Simply brilliant. Chris Salewicz – Music Biographer, former NME Journalist & Broadcaster


Follow Jon on the Social Network


 New Album by Jon Byrne, ‘Built by Angels’

due for release in Spring 2013

    Also by Jon Byrne, ‘It’s Boring Being in Control’

   Available on iTunes by clicking the album cover

Management; atom@splittingtheatom.co.uk

Jon Byrne – The Begining

Jon Byrne - Portobello Rd Jan 2008When I was about five or six I was walking with my Dad along Dalton Road in Barrow-in-Furness, Dads are fast so I was jogging about ten feet behind him, I noticed my shoe lace was undone, I knelt down to tie it and heard a slight squeaking sound like a wheel turning becoming louder.

Looking up I saw an old man pushing an old lady in a wheelchair coming towards me. His head was raised high and he was chatting away to the lady he was pushing nodding his head and winking at folk he knew as he passed them by.

She on the other hand was slumped forward silent with make up very badly applied, her face was as pale as freshly laid snow, the stench was hideous one of which I will never forget. She had teddy bears and dolls sitting on her lap with odd socks and sandals on the wrong feet.

I felt confused at what I’d seen (and smelt) and ran fast to catch my dad who was now browsing in a shop,

“Dad” I said trying to catch me breath, “is that lady ok she doesn’t look well at all I think I heard the man pushing her say she’s sleeping”.

“No she’s dead” my dad replied studying the information on the back of a tube of model glue.

That day I became a writer.

Jon Byrne - My ImagesVoices Verse 2 -

My wife’s been dead about a fortnight
But I still walk her around the park.
I’d make her tea, and we’d watch TV,
And I’d tuck her in when it gets dark
You may say I’m crazy
But don’t you know you’re getting me wrong
I just like to keep a reminder of the loved ones that have gone.


Certain People, the strange, the humorous goings on and the dark side of the street mainly in my home town have always inspired me.

There’s something about living and growing up in Barrow-in-Furness a working class northern town that lives’ and breaths in my music. Mental illness is something that is apparent in every town and city and Barrow is defiantly no exception

Over the years I’ve been somewhat surrounded by it and often close to becoming it.

Jon ByrneLiving with my Mam in the late eighties I observed her struggle to find money and coping with the stress of men letting her down. At an early age I observed my Mothers heartbreaks and began to look at things in a more realistic way, consequently such songs like ‘Money is Better than Love’ and ‘Beautiful Love’ were then born.

My dad is a playwright so from a young age I sat watching him type in a room filled with cigarette smoke. He lost his step son and his wife in the space of a few years and I remember worrying for his mental state and where his life would end up so the song ‘Halfway to Ruin’ was written which I still regard as my best song.

From since about eight years old I’ve always wanted to make films but found buying a cheap guitar and writing songs was a good option at the time. Although it wasn’t long before music became an equal passion in my life.

So I sort of designed short stories with film in mind that then became songs.

Looking Forward

Although I will always write music (or at least until things dry up if that hasn’t happened already), my plan for the future is to make my first film based on three songs.

The good thing is the script has kind of written itself, I plan to film it in Barrow and try to make it how I first seen it. I think the locations I’ve chosen are perfect.

The End Of An Innocent World

Jon Byrne - Own Image 224When I was twelve I hung around with a lad a couple of streets back from me. We spent an afternoon kicking a ball around his back yard; I felt thirsty and asked if I could get a drink.

Alone I entered his kitchen, the door leading to the sitting room was slightly open, I heard shouting and stood peering through the gap to see my mates dad pinning his Mam against the wall explaining


When I think back there was always bruises on her arms and face and she always looked worn out and slightly sedated. I never mentioned what I’d seen to anyone not even my mate. Later I heard she smashed her husband’s head in, and got life inside, I never seen my mate again.

A few months ago I spoke to someone who knows her and said she had the happiest time of her life in prison and was contemplating reoffending to get back inside.

Living For The Life Of Prison Verses 1 – 2 & Chorus

See Mrs. Logan she died upstairs
She wasn’t lonely though because there’s no heaven
When you put an end to all your cares
By blocking it all out.
She killed her husband with the kettle last year
She wanted it over he wanted coffee
She couldn’t take any more abuse
She couldn’t leave the house for black eyes
She said I’m glad he’s dead now I can live my life
Compared to the outside I love this prison
I’ll play pool with a psycho or two were having rabbit stew tonight.
So things are going good it’s like Hollywood
I get my sex from the guards I carve them things out of wood
If only I knew that things could be this good I would of killed that bastard years ago.
So things are going great I’ve lost a stone in weight
I hit the gym I take a swim I watch the telly till late
If only I knew that things could be this great
I wouldn’t have bothered trying to run away
I’m living for the life of prison. 

Seaside Donkey

My bit of public humiliation came about at the age of eighteen. I was a shy lad, no good in crowds, and on a night out in a club in Barrow I needed a cigarette having run out. So all sheepish and a bit drunk I found myself wobbling towards a lady of the large variety to ask her for a fag.

She then turned to me and shouted “did you just ask me for a fucking shag” I said “no fag” by now the rest of the hen party had gathered around egging the fatty on.

Before I knew it I was on the floor being suffocated buy huge breasts and being rode like a starving, abused, cruelly kept seaside donkey.

Cigarette Song Verses 1 – 2 & Chorus

Jon Byrne Own Images - Crow In A Cage 1I met her in a disco she was forty one
She had a manly kind of status
She had arms like fucking sailors
She was a four hundred pound woman.
I asked her for a cigarette
She said get back to mine
We could do it in my car
I’ve got a Jaguar
You can do me where the sun don’t shine.
I said woah! I only want a cigarette.

To me the music I write reflects the lives of the people I’ve seen, been and observed, from the experiences I’ve had as a child and as an adult and have through the years written stories about these things

Being in a folk band with my dad at thirteen made me a musician, everything else made me.


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