The Vancouver Sun
Vancouver's Jim Byrnes returns to his blues roots for his latest CD, which provides a musical showcase for Black Hen label boss and producer Steve Dawson. Throughout the dozen tracks, Dawson plays various guitars, banjo, pedal steel, pump organ, dobro and marxophone. Oh, he also sings and does most of the horn arrangements.
The Dawson genius is certainly a factor, but let's not forget this is Byrnes's date, and the singer-guitarist hits top form. The repertoire, mostly blues traditionals but with three Byrnes originals and a song by Dawson, sounds like what you might hear at a musical get-together in a Mississippi small town. Singing the traditional Bootlegger's Blues, performed as a hoedown swing tune, Byrnes's voice sounds like that of a backwoods moonshiner. He evokes another part of the American South with Robert Johnson's From Four Until Late, which moves like a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade song.