ABOUT STRING BONE

STRING BONE

Records released:


'Love & Highways' (2016)

'nadir' (2009)

'The Killing Town EP' (2008)

Americana to the bone, Canadiana in the heart & soul

File under playlist with: Lucinda Williams, Jay Farrar/Son Volt, Wilco, Calexico, Rodney Crowell, Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello.

Heart and home are often elusive for those whose spirits are drawn to the open road.  

Sit back, buckle up and ride along with String Bone down winding highways, around sharp turns, on great escapes and daring rescues with searching songs in pursuit of home for an unbound heart.

An unbreakable bone nut creates the essential contact point between a guitar's strings and the wooden body; String Bone draws the chaotic vibrations of the restless heart closer to its desire for gravity with songs of adventure bearing the weight left behind.  

Southern Ontario songwriter Barry James Payne is the architect of String Bone, and brings listeners to a collection of artfully designed songs and stories with "Love & Highways", his latest full-length recording.  

String Bone brings Payne's true life narratives close to the ear with tender arrangements supporting his gruff sincerity, well worn by the rumble of the road.

In concert, String Bone intertwines with bass, guitar, pedal steel and fiddle accompaniment in a variety of duo and trio combinations, or offers a richly bare solo performance exposing the songs at their core essentials.  

Barry James Payne also performs and records with several other musical projects including Celtic powerhouse 'Rant Maggie Rant' and alongside Canadian blues veteran Rick Taylor (Willie P. Bennett, Stan Rogers, Colleen Peterson) among others. 

Payne's dedication to music sparked his 10 year long concert series 'String Bone Presents!', which sadly ended in 2018, bringing the best of Canadian folk-roots to the stage at Stratford's Foster's Inn and Revival House with 12 concerts in each season, concurrent with his "Annual Winter Kitchen Party" series and "Late Night Cafe" series at other Stratford venues.  

Many of Payne's songs on 'Love & Highways' as well as his debut 'nadir' drive through darkness, betrayal and remorse towards love, light, escape and freedom on the road ahead with String Bone at the wheel.  

Payne shares struggles with relationships, and wrestles in the aftermath of lost wishes and broken dreams with an eye towards the next adventure.  

Unraveling ten melodic originals and two well-chosen covers from Neil Young and Radiohead, 'Love & Highways' features a full complement of players including pedal steel by Steve Wood, electric guitar by the album's producer Shannon Lyon, cello by Ben Bolt-Martin and violins by Payne's 'Rant Maggie Rant' band-mate Lindsay Schindler.  

In the passenger seat on "Love & Highways" is a stellar collection of guest vocalists including Sarah Jane Scouten, Mae Moore and longtime String Bone collaborator Ginger St. James, who also co-wrote 'Where Do You Go'.  Violinist Lindsay Schindler also contributes to trio harmonies on a soaring cover of Neil Young's "Birds" with Trent Severn collaborators Dayna Manning and Emm Gryner.  Roman Tome (New Country Rehab) contributes background vocals to "Somber Eyes", as well as percussion on five of the album's tracks.  

"Love & Highways" was recorded by Shannon Lyon at Lyon's Lake Studio in Point Clark and Bayfield, Ontario at sessions through 2015 and 2016, with additional sessions at Stratford’s Knox Presbyterian Church by John Hazen (Loreena McKennitt, Rita Chiarelli, Harry Belafonte).  

Resurrected following a lengthy creative blackout for Payne, this music project called String Bone sprung to life in 2006 as an outlet for his reflections on a wealth of life experiences as the foundation for his songwriting.  Payne spent his early days hitch-hiking across the vast Canadian landscape to the west coast where he worked odd jobs to survive, eventually involving himself in Vancouver’s burgeoning indie scene and finally working behind the scenes at Cargo Records in the height of the 90's alternative and Seattle punk-grunge explosion.  Eventually, the road brought him back to Southern Ontario and when Cargo bit the dust, not deterred, he found work in corporate life for 6 or 7 years, which almost killed his spirit. Leaving that dog-eat-dog environment he focused more on his writing and wrote 50 songs in 2006 and greased the wheels of his burgeoning music career.

Since then, Payne has toured extensively in Canada, the US and Europe. His song "Midnight Train" found regular rotation on Australia's national country radio station ABC Country.  String Bone was also included in the "Linda's Playlist" exhibit at the Stratford Perth Museum in 2014 celebrating the region's music-makers along with Richard Manuel (The Band), John Till (Janis Joplin’s Fill Tilt Boogie Band), Loreena McKennitt, Emm Gryner & Dayna Manning among others. 

He has shared the stage with Juno nominees and winners and some among them include Bill Bourne, Danny Michel, Emm Gryner, Luke Doucet, Loreena McKennitt, Linda McRae, Jenny Whitely and has collaborated with the likes of Ginger St. James, Shannon Lyon, Bob Egan (Blue Rodeo, Wilco), and many more.

Rave reviews for String Bone:

“...nadir is truly a masterpiece” ~ Music Star (Germany)

''...'nadir' is an album that will 'grow' on you each time you listen to the songs because of the high quality of each individual song on the album, the superb vocals of Barry James Payne and the musical contributions of some undeniably professional musicians." ~ RootsTime (Belgium)

"...'nadir' is a richly decorated composition. Payne scores big as a lyrical talent because of his depth and a focused, refined approach that isn't over-produced and this effort heralds the arrival of a major songwriter." ~ JiveWired (USA)

"The strength of singer/songwriter String Bone is both in the lyrics and the melody of these folk/Americana songs which, on 'nadir' he lays out for you on a platter. If you can put out such terrific songs on a debut CD categorized as great, you must be a very gifted lyricist and songwriter. ‘nadir’ from String Bone is of an excellent high quality." ~ Alt.Country Forum (Holland)

"Payne is a talented songwriter with a vocal style recalling Elvis Costello." ~ K-W Record (Canada)

Payne is a talented songwriter with a vocal style recalling Elvis Costello. ”

— K-W Record (Canada)

...'nadir' is truly a masterpiece!”

— Music Star (Germany)

...'nadir' is an album that will 'grow' on you each time you listen to the songs because of the high quality of each individual song on the album, the superb vocals of Barry James Payne and the musical contributions of some undeniably professional musicians.”

— RootsTime (Belgium)

In addition to being a good singer with a pleasant timbre, Barry James Payne is a traditional songsmith, of which Love & Highways is excellent proof. ”

— Music That Needs Attention - Theo Volk