Canadian blues 'n' roots legend Jim Byrnes followed up on his award-winning 2010 album Everywhere West with the acclaimed 2012 traditional country collection I Hear The Wind In The Wires. That album may have confused long-time fans, but it was entirely in character, Byrnes trying his hand (and quite well, I might add) on material that he loved, including songs from Hank Williams, Marty Robbins, Tom Waits, and Nick Lowe, among others.
Byrnes gets back to the business of the blues with his new album, St. Louis Times, scheduled for April 15th, 2014 release by Black Hen Music. St. Louis Times is Byrnes' sixth album for the independent Black Hen Music label, which recently moved its base of operations from Vancouver, BC to the Nashville, Tennessee area. St. Louis Times was produced by label owner and musician Steve Dawson, recorded in both Vancouver and Dawson's new Brentwood, Tennessee studio. Dawson provides his skilled and elegant fretwork to many of the songs.
Although he's lived in Vancouver for decades, Byrnes was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and St. Louis Times honors the blues and R&B music that Byrnes listened to as he grew up in the underrated musical mecca. The album features Byrnes' interpretation of songs from such St. Louis icons as Albert King, Little Milton, Chuck Berry, and James "Stump" Johnson as well as covers of Lonnie Johnson and W.C. Handy. St. Louis Times also includes four new original songs written by Byrnes and Dawson.
St. Louis Times also includes a couple of guest appearances. Blues Hall of Fame member John Hammond provides guitar and harmonica on four of the album's tracks, including a duet with Byrnes on "Stump" Johnson's lively "The Duck's Ya Ya Ya" while Canadian bluesman Colin James dropped by to add acoustic guitar to Byrnes' take on Little Milton's "That Will Never Do." For the multiple Juno and Maples Blues Award winner, the album was a labor of love. "These songs represent a snapshot of what I heard growing up in St. Louis," Byrnes says in a press release for the new album. "There's an unbelievable history there, and I was exposed to it both in live performances and on the radio. The music surrounded me when I was a kid and this album is my way of repaying the city for what it gave me."