Singer-songwriter C.N. Byrd has a new song called “Gina Rides a Tiger.” The song comments on a woman whose life was disrupted and taken away by the ravages of breast cancer.
This artistic statement is a cathartic one—purging pain through expression—speaking in poetry, Byrd lays bare some painfully complex life situations in the darkly emotive, “Gina Rides a Tiger.”
With a new album on the horizon, Byrd lays out his first single as a foundation for what’s to come. “I am not so interested in publicizing what I have done, but I am interested in sharing where this album comes from,” explains the Santa Fe, New Mexico-based artist. “This album is a personal statement I had to get out of the way before I could move on.”
Byrd takes the personal and makes it universal on his intimate album which is steeped in a myriad of folk traditions. Select artistic touchstones here include Warren Zevon, Stephen Foster, Paul Simon, Damien Rice, and Byrd’s biggest influence, underrated singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Martyn, best known for his innovative work with UK folk-jazz legends Pentangle. Byrd’s creativity is also informed by his passion for dance, yoga, and non-dual philosophy.
There is a mystical spirit coursing through Remissions, like sacred wisdom snuck into engaging folky pop-rock. The opening song, “Fingers,” is a breezy mid-tempo rock song with some elegant sax and Byrd’s conversational-but-melodic vocal stylings. Beneath its easy charm is a digestible commentary on non-duality awareness based on the ancient concept of a finger pointing at the moon being mistaken for the moon itself.
“‘Gina Rides a Tiger’ was written for my younger sister who succumbed to the ravages of breast cancer after suffering for 11 years. She continued to work as a government employee and the breadwinner for her family and few people outside of her immediate family had any idea how she was suffering through bouts of chemo-therapy, physical distress and invasive medical procedures. Gina confronted these obstacles with a stoic pride and dignity that I find remarkable. I wonder if I would have the fortitude to do the same if faced with her condition,” Craig shares.
The song sets a scene that depicts the end of his sister’s life. “Her last few months in hospice were profound for me,” he recalls. “She loved music, and a couple of days before she lost consciousness, I played to soothe her. ‘Gina Rides A Tiger’ just came to me during this time.” Here, hard-to-swallow truths are offset by a sensitive folk-rock accompaniment with comforting harmony vocals and Byrd’s sweetly sincere lead vocals. One viscerally evocative lyric passage reads: Rose pink lights up her front door outside the hospice living room/She will not suffer anymore or cause her loved ones gloom/Her weary eyes flash open wide/Eleven years of fate denied/Have come down to this final ride/Where she escapes her tomb.
Byrd is a lifelong creative who has previously channeled his artistic talents into theater, dance, music, and technically spectacular extravaganza. These days he’s focusing his energies on music and enjoying an outpouring of inspiration. Up next, he has two more albums in the works: a rockabilly-Americana joyride and an edgy alt-rock album. Byrd shares: “The time has come to break out of the shell and face the fuel with my own little spark. I am blasting the detritus from my favorite creations and actively devising new ones.” We are looking forward to watching his journey unfold and seeing what other magic he can creative.
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