17 December 1966, Beaumont, Texas, USA. Neo-traditionalist country singer Byrd paid $8 to sing Hank Williams Your Cheatin Heart over a pre-recorded backing track in a shopping mall. The store manageress was so impressed by Byrds voice that she booked him for a talent show. On that show he sang Weary Blues and Folsom Prison Blues. He began a residency with Mark Chesnutt, at a local club Cutters and when Chestnutt began to have some chart success, Byrd formed his own band and took over the residency. He signed with MCA Records in 1992 and had to wait a year before he fitted in with their release schedule.
Byrds first records were honky tonk in the George Strait mould, but he has gradually found his own voice, starting with a remake of Johnny Paychecks Someone To Give My Love To in 1993. His major breakthrough came with the number 1 country hit Holdin Heaven. He further established himself with Why Dont That Telephone Ring the same year. No Ordinary Man (1994) consolidated the success of his debut, spawning the hits Lifestyles Of The Not So Rich And Famous, Watermelon Crawl and The First Step, and a third collection Love Lessons (1995) was also well received. Further hit singles came with Love Lessons and Keeper Of The Stars, as Byrd attempted (alongside the likes of fellow Beaumont singer Clay Walker) to establish himself at the forefront of contemporary country. Big Love (1996) and Im From The Country (1998) were two solid, reliable albums that nevertheless failed to hoist Byrd into the same league as Garth Brooks.
Byrd crossed over to RCA Records for 1999s Its About Time, which diluted his traditional country twang with misguided forays into a pop-orientated style. The more conventional country of Ten Rounds (2001) and The Truth About Men (2004) continued his run of highly successful albums, with the former spawning his second country chart-topper, Ten Rounds With Jose Cuervo. Byrd ended his tenure with RCA following the release of The Truth About Men, and switched to independent status for the release of 2006s Different Things.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.