Jim Byrnes is one of those music warriors who has spent nearly half a century in the studio and on the road playing his brand of American roots music. He has now returned with the most unique and personal album.
St. Louis Times is a tribute to his boyhood city, which is now 250 years old. He also provides a heartfelt cover of the jazz classic “St. Louis Blues,” which is celebrating it 100th anniversary. In addition to a number of original songs written with friend, band mate, and guitarist Steve Dawson; he covers songs by such St. Louis citizens as Stump Johnson, Little Milton, Peetie Wheatstraw, and Chuck Berry.
Berry’s rock and roll classic “Nadine” is ramped down a bit as it emerges more in line with Byrnes Americana approach. Albert King’s “I Got Evil” is propelled by Dawson’s slide guitar.
The highlight of any Jim Byrnes album is always his own songs. “The Journey Home” pays homage to his home city as the spoken word transports him and the listener back to his childhood. “Old Dog, New Tricks” is a smoky old blues style song that incorporates some country elements thanks to Dawson’s pedal steel guitar. He pays homage to Jimmy Reed with the excellent “Somebody Lied.”
St. Louis Blues is a fine album from a veteran of the music scene. It is well-worth a listen.