Jim Byrnes new album My Walking Stick was just released this week. While other singers are quick to capitalize on any previous claims to fame, the press release for this album doesn’t even mention Byrnes’ acting career. I personally know him best as watcher Joe Dawson on Highlander the Series (my biggest guilty pleasure), but the general public may remember him better for his role on Wiseguy. Byrnes obviously considers himself a singer and musician first, an actor second. It’s easy to understand why when you listen to his music. Whiles blues artists like Duke Robillard are the first comparisons that come to mind, Byrnes also delves into roots, doo-wop, and even a jazz standard on this new disc.
Most of the album rests comfortably in Jim’s signature blues-roots combo style. But the soulful rendition of Irvin Berlin’s “My Walking Stick” allows Byrnes to croon, and it’s a surprisingly good fit for his gritty but solid voice. Now I want to hear the man record an entire album of standards. He also experiments with a bit of doo-wop on “Lookin For A Love”, and covers The Band’s “Ophelia”.