I didn’t have to invent the door in order to know how to walk through it and Jim Byrnes didn’t have to invent the blues to know how to play it. On his latest album Everywhere West he unleashes a voice that sounds like a heavenly mixture of Gregg Allman and an easy going Joe Cocker. This man has got the blues and we are all so much better for it. We should all pitch in and get him a gift card to Apple Bee’s or some sort of Cheese of the Month Club as a way of saying thank you for the great effort.
This album starts off with “Hot as a Pistol” and is a slow churning blues classic that Jim penned himself. The song is stolen from Jim and his guitar by an organ solo that blew me away the first time I heard it. Keith Lowe just runs the keys like he is training for an organ marathon. The horn section with Jerry Cook on tenor sax and Bill Runge on trumpet was a great inclusion on this track. Everyone knows that horns make everything better whether it is a car, a Marx brother, or a blues song. “Bootlegger’s Blues” is a great song with a country blues flavor. It sound like the band is sitting on your front porch in front of the moonshine still. The fiddle played by Daniel Lapp creates the moment and ties the song together beautifully.
A wonderful cover of the Louis Jordan penned “You Can’t Get That Stuff No More” brings some wonderful color and a good time atmosphere to the album. The last song, “Me and Piney Brown”, is an original from Jim that shines like a great blues song should. This should be a standard in any upcoming blues bands set list. His voice embodies the finest points of the blues and really gets into you deep. The beautiful sounding piano and horns add a beautiful layer of depth to this gem. It’s a perfect way to end an album that is damn good from end to end.