Hittin' The Note
Put Jim Byrnes and Steve Dawson together and the blues slip and slide into old time overdrive. Though a Vancouver resident for over forty years, Byrnes tips his hat to the 250th anniversary of his birthplace on St. Louis Times, singing with joy and a wily wink and in a jagged voice as if his life depended on every word. Dawson is Canada's foremost slide guitarist, with tone in his bones not unlike Jack Pearson's, and a huge almanac of music swirling in his mind. His sixth production of Byrnes features a wickedly tight band and a handful of fine originals such as "Somebody Lied" (with John Hammond joining in on harp) mixed among covers such as Chuck Berry's "Nadine," which is taken on a bumpy, backwoods ride that loosens all the great words inside. The colorful rave-up "You'll Miss Me (When I'm Gone)" complete with soul-fired brass, features up-and-coming sensation Colleen Rennison in a scintillating vocal duet that highlights the set. And by the close, when Dawson veritably weeps on guitar and Byrnes laments during Lonnie Johnson's "Another Night to Cry," it's quite apparent that this is a must-have album.