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About Your Webmaster
My name is Andy Craven, I am 30 years old and live in England. I first got to know James after he emailed me to thank me for a review I had written for 'Crimes Of Virtuosity' around 1999/2000, this eventually led to me starting an authorised James Byrd UK website, and ultimately becoming the official site webmaster. The fact that my 'Authorised' website become the more up to date website (by persistently bugging and being a pain in the ass) I guess made it logical for James to ask me to take over the official site. The fact that I am the webmaster of this site basically means that I try to put into reality things that James would like on his site. I often suggest ideas for new content to James and he either gives it the green light or not, basically I try to think what I want to see from an artists website from a fans perspective. Too many official artist websites are nothing more than marketing tools owned by the record companies to promote the new album and nothing else - whereas the aim of this site is try to give you a very informative view into Byrd the artist. All the graphics you see on the website are done by James all the information comes direct from James, so anything you read here you can take as 100% official. If you feel anything is missing please email me with your ideas and if practical/possible I will try to make it happen.
So how did I get into James' music? Well it happened around 1995 I was reading through an issue of 'Guitar For The Practising Musician' magazine when I stumbled upon a Shrapnel records ad, in this ad was a small feature on 'Son Of Man', this got my interest as it sounded like it would be like some of my other favourite guitarists, I then found a review in the same magazine which made it sound very special indeed. So I went to my local record store to order it on import, 1995 meant pre-internet times and pre-internet prices and pre-ease of ordering stuff from the States. So after two weeks it arrived at my local store in the UK. I remember putting it on and quite simply being blown away. Here was a player that had everything I wanted to hear in guitarwork - tone, soul, chops, and above all individuality. Over the next few months I managed to get hold of the back catalogue and since then I have been hooked. I am proud to say that not only am I Byrd's webguy but also consider James and his wife Kelly to be two of my closest friends.
In May/June 2002 I was lucky enough to spend time with James and Kelly. The trip tied in with the end of the mixing of 'Anthem' so I spent quite a bit of time in the studio which was a trip. A major life memory will always be arriving at Byrd's house after 20 hours of travelling to be asked if I wanted to hear some tracks from the new album (like I was gonna say no!), then I basically got blown away not only by the volume coming out of the hi-fi speakers but mostly by the music and performances. On this trip I also got to meet Michael (Flatters) and Brian (Hutchison) means that album will always have a special place in my heart. Another trip followed in 2003 when James had just completed his contribution to the Uli Roth tribute and again in 2007. I have many great memories of these trips, getting to see the master play mesmerising guitar a couple of feet away (I will record some next time honest!), two of the best hosts you could wish for, great food, great sense of humour, enough coffee to make coffee bean plantation owners worry about stock and BIG pets! So there you have it. Enough of my yacking, lets boogie!
Andy - webmaster.