Icon Magazine

Jim Byrnes goes back to the starting point with St. Louis Times, revisiting the music that he heard growing up in the Missouri city that led him to become a musician.

The album is rooted in the blues as Byrnes kicks off the album with a swinging version of “I Get Evil,” a standard that’s been recorded by artists ranging from Tampa Red to the Blasters. Byrnes and John Hammond trade verses on “The Duck’s Yas Yas Yas,”  which is enhanced by a Dixieland brass arrangement and producer Steve Dawson’s guitar.

Byrnes and Colleen Rennison deliver a spirited duet on “You’ll Miss Me (When I’ Gone),” trading good-natured barbs on the remake of the 1965 hit by Fontella Bass and Bobby McClure. Darryl Havers’ percolating Wurlitzer is a highlight of Byrnes’ version of Chuck Berry’s “Nadine.”

As a songwriter, Byrnes holds his own with his mentors. “The Journey Home” is a recitation on his life as a boy growing up in St. Louis that makes good use of his vocal skills. Byrne is a longtime actor and was a regular on the TV series Wiseguy. “I Need a Change” is a soul-drenched ballad that gives Byrnes a chance to stretch out vocally. St. Louis Times shows a man can go home again, at least musically.