Reflections in Blue (blog)
Seldom do I hear anything that leaves me speechless, but I could sum this one up in a single word…WOW! This is Byrnes and Steve Dawson’s sixth album together and I guess I don’t have to tell you that I am really impressed. After nearly fifty years in the business it is not surprising that this one is as smooth as a well-aged single malt scotch. Byrnes is impressive enough on his own to warrant rave reviews but when you throw in a supporting cast of the best roots musicians in the business the result is almost too good for words. Besides Dawson on guitars the basic band consists of Darryl Havers on keyboard, Jeremy Holmes on bass and Geoff Hicks on drums. Old friend John Hammond, who was passing through, added his special twist. Canadian blues icon Colin James stopped by to play an acoustic solo on “That Will Never Do” and Colleen Rennison adds her personal touch to the vocals on “You’ll Miss Me”…and the excitement doesn’t stop there. The musicianship on this recording is not only technically flawless, but it is dripping with passion. The disc kicks off with Albert King’s “I Get Evil”, followed up by “Somebody Lied”, a Byrnes/Dawson original. I was hooked from the start. Primarily comprised of well-chosen covers with a handful of great originals thrown in for good measure, St. Louis Times is Byrnes’ tribute to the city, the music and the times that he grew up in. He captures the spirit beautifully, making for a recording that is nothing short of incredible. Jim Byrnes is a superb musician and has a voice that is so well-suited to the music it is as if everything on the album was written with him in mind specifically. The band is as good as bands get, tight, playing as a single unit, like a well-oiled machine. The result is powerful and passionate, easy on the ear and flows as naturally as water down a mountain stream. St. Louis Times is an instant classic and should be part of any collection. This is one of those recordings that should come with a money back guarantee. Immaculate musicianship, wonderful arrangements and the sound and feel of something that could easily have been written and recorded in the 20s or 30s give this recording a timeless quality. If you haven’t guessed it by now, I recommend this one wholeheartedly. You will not be disappointed.