On Wednesday, Irish tenor Paul Byrom will perform at The Barns at Wolf Trap in Vienna, engaging the audience with his smooth voice and traditional Irish music.
Singing since he was a child, Byrom earned the nickname “The Swanky Tenor” while a part of Celtic Thunder, gaining fame as a one of the founding soloists of the musical group and stage show frequently featured on PBS specials.
Byrom explained that when he was a part of Celtic Thunder, he was singing in five-part harmony, which was very different than what he was used to doing as a solo artist.
Peter Zimmerman, director of programming and production at Wolf Trap, said that he saw some of the PBS specials and wanted to schedule Byrom to perform.
Zimmerman said specific staff members at Wolf Trap book certain shows — for instance, someone finds the dancers and someone finds the opera performers.
“And me for everything else,” Zimmerman added with a laugh.
So far, Wolf Trap has been doing well selling tickets, and Zimmerman thinks sales will pick up even more as the Byrom show draws closer.
“We do really well with Celtic shows,” Zimmerman said, explaining that Byrom’s stint in Celtic Thunder connects him to the Celtic music community.
Byrom explained that the music he performs is a crossover, of sorts, with songs from Broadway, mainstream works tailored to his voice, and “a whole lot of Irish stuff.” He said most of the time it’s just him and a piano on stage.
“Well, I suppose it’s hard to pigeonhole, in a way. I’m happy about that,” said Byrom. “I’m pretty confident that at least there is something for everyone.”
Byrom said he doesn’t see much of a difference between the audiences from his home country compared to those in America. Both crowds, he said, are just as enthusiastic about the music they’ve come to see.
“Americans want more of the Irish stuff because that’s where I’m from and Americans like their [Irish] heritage,” Byrom said.
“Thinking of Home” is Byrom’s fifth solo album and would be categorized more as an Irish album. He said that the CD offers a bunch of traditional, recognizable Irish songs and two original pieces.
“I put two original songs that I’ve written based on my experience coming to the states,” Byrom said.
Byrom describes one such song, “Lady Liberty,” as a “tribute to people who came before” him and a reference to the first thing they would see when they pulled into the harbor.