AMERICAN songwriter, Julie Byrne released her first record in over six years last July called ‘The Greater Wings’ on Ghostly International. She plays Dolans this Friday November 24. A self-taught musician and characteristically private artist that has committed her life to her work, Byrne now emerges with the most powerful, lustrous, and life-affirming music of her career.
“Immersive and lush”, “So perfect it’s hard to believe it’s real” say New York Times and USA Today. Byrne’s immersive song craft transcends genre as it flows between her signature fingerpicked guitar and a palette of synth tones.
Her beautiful song ‘Follow My Voice’ has now clocked up almost 50 million Spotify streams.
The Greater Wings was written across several seasons, pulling imagery from nights on tour, periods of isolation, and the drives cross-country for its various collaborations between Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. Recording started with the late Eric Littmann (Phantom Posse, Steve Sobs), her longtime creative partner and Not Even Happiness producer, and finished in the Catskills of New York with producer Alex Somers (Sigur Rós, Julianna Barwick).
While they hold the plasticity of loss, the songs are universally resonant, unbridled in their devotion and joy. Byrne leans further into atmospheres both expansive and intimate; the lush, evocative songcraft flows between her signature fingerpicked guitar, synthesizer, and a newly adopted piano, made wider by flourishes of harp and strings. It is the transcendent sound of resource, of friendship that was never without romance, of loyalty that burns from within like a heart on fire, and the life force summoned in unrepeatable moments — raw, gorgeous, and wild.
At the heart of the record is ‘Summer Glass’ a luminous, euphoric synth ballad tracing themes of intimacy, memorial, and deeply personal alliance. The song ignites all at once with Littmann’s arpeggiated synth as they approach the zenith of their creative partnership; Byrne’s voice casts the spell, ‘I can’t say if it was devotion. I just wanted to feel the sun on my skin.’ The opening lyrics find her at the water’s edge. Transfixing and radiant, Marilu Donovan’s harp joins the pulse of the synth in a tidal, interlocking cascade — a synergy that embodies years of collaboration. ‘Summer Glass’ opens wide to encompass a universe of references, turning candid moments of laughter, desire, failure, perseverance, inertia, and emergence into legacy. Jake Falby’s strings offer a sweeping, incandescent bridge, a step more urgent at the album’s apex, before Byrne returns with a final invocation:
“One day the skin that holds me will be dust
and I’ll be ready to travel again
For now I want to go further in,
Into moment, into vision, into you
I swore I’d show myself so I could renew
That’s not the same as being new forever
The shape of your hand left in the dust of Summer Glass
I want to be whole enough to risk again.”