Blues Underground Network
One way or another we all know Jim Byrnes, whether via movies, television series, his charitable work with World Vision Canada and Face The World Foundation and yes lets not forget he is one of the finest blues singers and musicians around, proving that point over and over again as he has churned out musical gem after musical gem since starting in the 80's with the release of “Burnin’” on Polydor, as the Jim Byrnes Band. Now 3 decades later Jim Byrnes once again throws his magic into the ring with his 4th Album for Black Hen Music, "Everywhere West".
Jim Byrnes started his musical career in 1964 with his first professional gig and continued on to play with an immense lineup of greats including, "Furry Lewis, Henry Townsend, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Taj Mahal, Robery Cray", to name just a few. Now into his 46th year of playing the blues he continues to awe and inspire us thru his lyrics, musicianship and his delivery of both.
Collaborating with Byrnes' on "Everywhere West", once again, is Producer/Musician/Singer/Songwriter Extraodinaire, Steve Dawson, one of the most respected and sought after Artist Canada has had the good grace of producing, always bringing his special talents and magic to what ever he touches.
"Everywhere West" consists of 12 Tracks, two of which were written solely by Jim Byrnes (Hot As A Pistol/Me and Piney Brown) and one which was co-written with Tim Hearsey (Storm Warning). Steve Dawson is credited for five tracks, of which he arranged four (Bootlegger's Blues/No Mail Blues/From Four Until Late/He Was A Friend Of Mine/) and wrote one (Walk On). Other Tracks rounding out "Everywhere West" include Yield Not To Temptation (Ralph Bass/Sonny Thompson), Black Nights (Lowell Folsom), Take Out Some Insurance On Me (Jimmy Reed) and You Can't Get That Stuff No More (Louis Jordan/Sam Theard). All the above tracks make for one thoroughly entertaining and diverse Album.
One thing that is certain when you are dealing with a Jim Byrnes Album, is that when you listen to it you are going to be taken away and sent on a incredible journey. "Everywhere West" is absolutely no exception to that rule. Like a grandson who is mesmerized with the story telling of his grandpa, you will be mesmerized with the sounds, lyrics, and texture of "Everywhere West". Not only does Jim Byrnes thrill you with what he brings to the table, you will also be thrilled at all the other voices and sounds you will hear, such as Slide Guitar, Trumpet, Baritone/Tenor Sax, Banjo, Hand Claps, Marxophone, Wurlitzer, Weissenborn, Mandolin, Fiddle, Piano, Trumpet, National Tritone, Mandotar, Acoustic Guitars, Pump Organ, Mellotron, Pedal Steel, Dobro, Tenor Banjo, and the heavenly voices of Jeanne Tolmie, Geoff Hicks, Keith Lowe, and Steve Dawson. Are you starting to get the picture on how special "Everywhere West" is? Thought you might be.
"Everywhere West" is one of those special Albums that seems to come out of nowhere and hits you up the side of your head with its shear brilliance, easily cutting threw yesterdays mediocrity. Jim Byrnes continues to impress us with not only his amazing skills, but his instinct of whom to bring to the table when he gets that hankering to serve us all one of his bountiful musical treats.
"Everywhere West" easily receives my highest rating of 5*****. Highly Recommended and Thoroughly Enjoyed...
Review By John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
Jim Byrnes’ 4th album for Black Hen Music, finds Jim collaborating once again with producer Steve Dawson. Jim’s bluesiest album in years. “Everywhere West” includes raw and stripped-down takes on classic material and some originals by Jim himself.