NYC SINGER-SONGWRITER D.L BYRON’S IS ROCKIN’ UP A STORM ON HIS NEW EP ‘SATORI’ YEARS AFTER HIS INITIAL POP/ROCK INNOVATIVE CONTRIBUTIONS.
In Review: “Satori” by D.L Byron is a Rock & Roll Trip through the Philosophy of an artist that has seen the highs and lows of a generation slipping into and out of madness on a regular basis, trying to find its way in the darkness out to the light of day. High Energy Rock is an understatement, honors back to the working mans music, with hints of the 70’s, 80’s and beyond, from hard edge to soft introspective highlights, “Satori” has it all.
Out of the gate, with “No 1 God” the artist takes, I feel, a tongue in cheek response to the religious right answer to every one of our daily woes is “Jesus Saves”, turning an image of the savior to the all in one answer, transforming christ into a golden calf to bear our burdens with no need for man to take responsibility. Suitably followed by “Rehearsing For The Future” which has our hero wondering what’s next, and how do we get things done with no direction, no script and no idea what’s expected by those that expect without reservation. “All Fall Down” is a freewheeling rock ride, like the music that inspired my own youth, a ballad to youth gone wild, now, in adulthood trying to make sense of what is the result of our own actions. Last track in this wonderful offering of hits is “Everywhere I Go” a song of what a man sees and feels through his day, all the anxiety, stress and dementia of the masses, one could say it’s a listing of what sets off the ticking time bomb, all of this endured while searching for what we started with, the lost ambitions of youth, the days when our worst fear was not getting to the party on time, and not hiding the grey that advances on our temples.
A true musical survivor, D.L. Byron embodied the indie artist spirit of defying pat categorization decades before it was the standard m.o. of the music industry. He brings a fascinating yet harrowing history in “the biz” to Satori, a hard-hitting EP of four edgy and rockin’, lyrically pointed songs from his latest project on Zen Archer Records.
He explains the word “Satori” as a Zen Buddhist word for “sudden awakening,” and the tracks he chose for the project share the passion and enlightenment of this aesthetic. The veteran artist will tell that story in full in his upcoming memoir entitled “Shadows of the Night,” named for his song that Pat Benatar turned into a Grammy winning, era defining hit in the early 80’s. While holding nothing back from his immersion in and observations of the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle, he also includes poignant details about his personal and family life.
Like a lot of stylistically eclectic artists in the late 70s and early 80s, Byron’s deeper creativity was ultimately stifled by corporate major label machinery. After finding success as a staff songwriter for E.H. Morris, he was signed in 1979 by Clive Davis to Arista Records, which attempted to fashion him as the American answer to Elvis Costello or Graham Parker. His debut album This Day and Age, produced by Jimmy Iovine, became an instant power-pop classic, spawning the Top 40 hit “Listen to the Heartbeat,” along with a popular MTV Video. He toured as a headliner and opening act for Bob Seger and the Boomtown Rats. His 12” remake of “Down in the Boondocks” featured Billy Joel on backing vocals. Despite that momentum, he was stopped cold when Arista rejected the demo for “Shadows of the Night,” which he planned to make the first single for his follow-up. He was told it wasn’t commercial enough, but even before Benatar made it a global hit, singer Helen Schneider’s version went five times platinum in Germany.
Since the late 90s, long free from major label control, a creatively refreshed Byron has embraced true creative freedom, releasing a total of eight albums on Zen Archer records. His music is melodically infectious yet thematically deep and thought-provoking, reflecting his no holds barred desire to write and sing straight from the heart and shoot from the hip. Though his latest tunes are fresh and contemporary, he doesn’t apologize for his old school rock sensibilities and chief influences like The Byrds, The Who and The Beatles. Thematically, he’s long been inspired by life on NYC’s Lower East Side, a few miles from the small clubs in the East Village, where he performs solo, Neil Young and early Dylan sets with acoustic guitar and harmonica.
“From the start of my career, my goal as a songwriter has been to write songs that are substantial,” Byron says. “These days, the pop bar has become so low that it feels like it’s even more important to share ideas that are thought provoking, inspiring people to think about their lives and the world around them while touching their hearts in a deep way. It’s a gift I still feel compelled to share. It’s not about personal glory or being in the spotlight but simple communication, which on a basic emotional level is the purpose of all art. If it’s not touching people, what is its value? In the book I will share the way my perceptions have changed since I was a neophyte in the music business and mishandled so many things. Now, with the passage of time and hard-earned wisdom, I am better able to pick and choose what I want to do. The songs on Satori took a lot of work, but my goal is always to make each record better than the last one. It is a true labor of love.”
You can find more about this album at the label website and the artist’s online locations::
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