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Byrdstir is the intellectual property brand of Craig Norris Byrd, born in the Gila area of southwestern New Mexico. His gift of wordsmithing was recognized from an early age, though the mechanism for delivery was longer arriving. His debut EP recording "Emissions" is a testament to a simple beauty in modern folk/rock songwriting that draws comparison to American icons Paul Simon, Stephan Stills, Bob Dylan and James Taylor. Citing a major influence of British troubadour John Martyn, Byrd's material ranges from delicate statements on interpersonal relationships to powerful commentary on contemporary social issues. His perceptive insight and ability to turn a phrase is not limited to personal issues, but extends to a piercing analysis of societal ills. As somber as this sounds, Birdstir songs cover a wide swath of musical genres and include many songs that are just plain fun. As a gifted writer of poetry and popular songs, his music has been critically described as "a wicked pen" and "a rolling barrel of fun". His repertoire proves the two are not mutually exclusive. As a ballroom dancing champion, he is intimately aware of the musical characteristic that can get a body moving. The great recession has provided an escape from a harrowing career in entertainment technology and has given him an opportunity in middle age to pursue professionally what he has always done as a hobby. He will be officially launching as a singer/songwriter in 2015 with an album of songs under the working title "Bazaar".
Craig Byrd spent most of his formative years in the Gila forest region of southwestern New Mexico. Though raised to be an athlete, he was encouraged to pursue creative writing as an adolescent, and made the move into music and theater while also feeding a scientific yearning with the study of electronics. Soon he was working sound for local bands publicly and putting poetry to music in private. Hitchhiking to the 'big cities' of El Paso, Albuquerque, Tucson and Phoenix he talked his way into helping set up concert stages in exchange for free admittance.
He was “encouraged” into military service after a brush with law enforcement, and after a year of training in satellite communications repair, he passed a year in the mountains of Korea maintaining communications for a strategic air command battalion. That allowed him to reach an advanced level of accomplishment in martial arts, also providing plenty of time to play guitar, write songs and study religion.
After the active duty hitch, he spent a year in Phoenix getting certified in the construction of stringed musical instruments. He then went back to his hometown and ran into another local musician (Bob Mathis) now known as Elk Thunder. He joined the partnership of the Rocky Mountain Recording Studio while doing legitimate studies in a composite musical, theatrical and visual arts program at the local university. After a few years there, he made a move to ASU in Tempe, AZ to study music, theater and dance and captain the fencing team. He kept the stage production work going with a job as technical director of a large road house and crewing for major production companies and venues in the Phoenix valley. He could only take ASU for a year and moved to Sedona then Flagstaff, where he studied arts management, theater and dance while working for the campus classical NPR station as a producer and on-air talent. By the time he left three years later, he was president of the dance club, captain of the fencing team and in the honorary drama fraternity.
The degree program called for an internship in an arts organization, so he applied for and was accepted as a technical intern for Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. In addition to being his first time in New England, it was an incredibly eye-opening artistic experience. He worked the festival season with world class artistic directors, production managers and lighting designers putting on main stage shows for major dance and performance art companies. He studied the choreographic, production and lighting techniques of the best in the world. This work led to a tour as production manager for a NYC based post modern dance group, Solomons Company Dance. He took this as an opportunity to re-locate to Manhattan.
He free-lanced as a stage professional for a number of years, lighting and stage managing all types of shows in all types of venues. He managed the production of tours and shows for dance, opera and theatre companies, all the while keeping his artistic fire burning by studying modern, ballet and ballroom dance.
This work in the arts world was very satisfying, but not so rewarding financially. He fell back on his technical background and signed on with a company that did high power laser display productions, becoming involved with display work for immense celebrations, including Times Square ball dropping ceremonies, Independence Day celebrations and lasers from the top of the world shooting out over the NYC sky from the tops of the World Trade Center towers.
When expensive laser shows fell out of favor, he did post-production engineering for a major NYC post house for several years, then moved to a start-up company doing video-wall displays. He received recognition from the Audio Engineering Society for a 27 channel technical audio design for the NASDAQ MarketSite. He then moved to a start-up digital video development company and was instrumental in the installation of the All-Asia Broadcast Facility (MEASAT) digital content control system in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was able to further his studies of martial art and ballroom dance during those years, and was known as the top deejay for ballroom dance music in the NYC area. He used those skills to help pay for world class ballroom dance instruction, and achieved a national amateur title as a dancer.
Then the corporate phase began