“During my high school years, while my friends were chasing girls, I was at home teaching myself guitar. I was fascinated with the tones I found I could create. How was I to know this would become a lifelong fascination?” The musical exploits of Michael “Byrdman” Byrd, began on November 15, 1968, when he went to see The Jimi Hendrix Experience live at Cincinnati Gardens. “Ever since then, I’ve been waiting to see a concert as good as that one,” Byrd says, “and I’m still waitin’ to see one that even comes close to it!” Then he adds quite subtly under his breath, “…and I’ve seen A LOT of concerts since then…”
Michael Byrd has worked as a musician, a machinist, an engineer, and a radio host/producer/Blues Director (he worked for the WNKU/WNKN/ WNKE public radio network from 1992 through 2012.) In fact, Byrd can still be heard hosting Kitty’s Blues (Cincinnati’s longest running Blues radio program) once or twice a month. After 36 years in radio, what most of his fans don’t realize is that he was a professional musician first.
Byrd played music professionally long before he became a DJ. As one half of an acoustic duo, Byrd played local coffeehouses and festivals throughout the 70’s, and in several different bands and other configurations. He also playef with a brilliant and unfortunately, now deceased musician, Mike Brock. Mike’s exploits in and around the Cincinnati area are well documented. To himself, Mike waas just the “guitar player”. But he was SO much more. Mike was a rare musician with s great, natural singing voice, who emanated good Karma, which will enter back into this story in a few…
Byrd did the family thing from ’81 to around 2000, when he did a couple of solo acoustic shows between 2000 and 2003. A decade later and Byrd decided to get back to his roots- performing- and Byrdman Blues Band was born!
Byrd had never lost touch with Larry Jacobson, Belljar’s original guitarist. Larry, who had also hung up his guitars for a few decades, decided it was time for him to get back to performing. Great timing, Jake!!!
Fate had also caused Byrd to cross paths with a young gentleman named Jason Collins, who remembered watching Byrd play with the aforementioned Mike Brock when he was just a small boy.
Byrd played in several multiple guitar bands with Mike (as well as more traditional two or less guitar bands.) “Those were the days when I learned that working with multiple guitars can become a train wreck in a hurry without discretion,” Byrd says. For that reason, the three BBB guitarists worked three months. “I think we found a very nice balance,” says Byrd.
After becoming comfortable working three guitar style, Byrdman, Larry, and Jason added a truly phenominal bassist Greg Thomas and drummer Boomer Davidson (formerly the rhythm section for Tattered Roots, an excellent Cincinnati Rock band.)
Unfortunately, Boomer is no longer with BBB. They are now using their original drummer, Chrislon Jackson, who had to leave the band before their first gig Chris also worked with Byrd as co-host of Stanley’s Pub’s Sunday night open jam from 2012 through late 2015 is glad to be back.. “With the personnel change,” Byrd says, ” we decided to mix it up and BBB has become a band that will play as either a trio, quartet or quintet. “We may even add a horn section at some point.
For the 2016 Cincy Blues Challenge, Byrd has pared down to a trio, with Jason on guitar, Chrislon on drums, and Byrdman on bass. This will be the first performance of BBB as a trio, placing less emphasis on vocals, which is the band’s forte in the larger configurations. Byrd says, “Jason and Chrislon are both phenominal players on their respective instruments, and I’d really like to see if we can strip it down for a more bare bones Blues trio sound. We played two Blues staples and one original song (by Mike Brock) last year. This year, with the smaller band, we’ll be featuring 3 (or 4?) more stripped down originals.
Byrdman Blues Band brings such a wide berth of musical experience to the table they are sure to please! Thanks for the chance to compete!!!