Shawn Byrne. Born in 1973. Middletown, Ct. Middlesex Hospital. The umbilical cord was cut and a new one was soon attached. This new cord plugged straight into a wooden Zenith record player where the future musician was nourished via headphones with the music from his fathers eclectic record collection. Cash, Willie, and Waylon played nicely alongside The Stones, The Beatles, and The Who.
Shawn’s father, a full time lineman and part-time musician kept his coveted Gibson Les Paul Goldtop under his bed. Not a very good hiding spot. The classic guitar found it’s way onto a school bus and to the stage of a 3rd grade talent contest where the young Shawn horrified his music teacher as he wrestled the weighty guitar while rocking out to Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane”.
Dad never knew of his son’s secret liaisons with the guitar until at a gig he found that all the picks were missing from the case and had to use a bread bag clip to get through the night. It wasn’t long until Shawn had his very own $150 Fender Squire Strat and the Les Paul stayed under the bed… but only for a time.
The journey that brought Shawn from Connecticut to Nashville led him through Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music where the self taught musician learned that formal instruction wasn’t in the cards. Several garage bands, a near death experience and a stretch living and working with special needs kids at the Perkins School for the Blind brought Shawn to the conclusion that if he was to make music his life then he would need to take the plunge and go where music and creativity can permeate an aspiring artist’s life. A place where living masters of their trade share songs and licks in famed clubs such as the Douglas Corner and the Bluebird Cafe. In fact it was in 2003 that the Bluebird Cafe found their new dishwasher. Shawn scrubbed lightly as to not drown out the songs being shared just beyond the kitchen wall by some of Nashville’s most successful songwriters. During this time Shawn honed his writing and playing skills and not only became one the town’s most sought out guitar slingers (touring with Rodney Atkins, Mark Collie, Ashton Shepherd and Kelleigh Bannen to name just a few) but also became an in demand demo singer working on sessions for Mark Knopfler, Mary Gauthier, Gary Louris and Kristen Hall under the guidance of Grammy winning producer Nathan Chapman. In time it was Shawn’s talents as a writer that got the attention from publishers and major artists alike garnering Shawn a SESAC writer’s award and around 20 cuts to his name.
Shawn’s second self produced record Pine Trees, Cheap Wine, and the Moon, released in 2012, contains 15 masterfully crafted songs that showcase his talents not only as a singer/songwriter but also as a guitarist, producer and mixing engineer. An eclectic mix of country infused styles like rockers “The Hardest Fall” and “Boots” to the bluegrass romp “The High Notes” recorded with Grammy nominated and multi IBMA award winners The Grascals. Then there’s the yearning “A Woman Will” and the heartbreaking “Simply Slip Away”. Take a listen and learn why the Nashville Scene calls Shawn Byrne “Nashville’s Best Kept Secret”.