Matthew Byrne was born into a family of Newfoundland music makers and his repertoire is heavily influenced by his unique musical lineage. This tradition thrives on the song – the weaving of a great story with a beautiful melody – and Matthew’s music reminds us how satisfying traditional songs can be when stripped down to these basic elements. His live performance offers tasteful and honest interpretations of folk songs delivered with polished guitar work and powerful vocals. His repertoire transcends time and place with traditional songs from both sides of the Atlantic.
Since bursting on to the trad scene in 2010 with his debut recording, Ballads, Matthew has swiftly earned his place as one of Canada’s most authentic and vital traditional voices. In that time, Matthew’s music has traveled well beyond the rugged shores of his homeland. His role as singer and song-finder in The Dardanelles has brought him to many major international festival stages including Winnipeg Folk Festival, Celtic Connections in Glasgow, UK, and The Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland, Australia.
Matthew is currently promoting his second solo offering, Hearts & Heroes, which brilliantly showcases his musical growth as a traditional singer and guitarist, and asserts a new level of musicianship and a skill with interpreting and arranging traditional music. Byrne has once again teamed up with producer and musical partner Billy Sutton to create fresh and original arrangements of lesser-known traditional songs, which Byrne has either inherited from singers within his family or sought out himself. The influence of four years in a powerful and rhythmic trad ensemble is evident in songs like “Bold Nelson” and “McAlpine’s Crew”, which showcase a thicker band sound and sit beautifully alongside the stark, stripped-down arrangements on the record, which include two original instrumentals.
Hearts & Heroes won “Traditional Album of the Year” at the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards.