Michigan Blues Society

As evidenced by the title, this new release by Jim Byrnes is an  homage to his native St. Louis. With a batch of tunes first recorded or written by St. Louis musicians such as Chuck Berry, Nadine, Stump Johnson, The Duck Yas Yas Yas, and Little Milton, That Will Never Do, as well as his own contributions, Byrnes has assembled a diverse collection that ranges from the straight forward electric blues of I Get Evil to the slinky, atmospheric Old Dog, New Tricks, to the R & B rave up of the Fontella Bass classic, You’ll Miss Me (When I’m Gone) where he trades vocal leads with Colleen Rennison, to the double entendre laden, jug band groove of Stump Johnson’s The Duck’s Yas Yas Yas which features John Hammond and the spoken word memory trip of The Journey Home. WC Handy’s St. Louis Blues gets a Preservation Hall Jazz Band style treatment with ample doses of sousaphone and clarinet while the self-penned I Need a Change sounds like a lost soul classic. The low key horn accents perfectly capture the melancholy of the moment on Another Night to Cry which closes things out with the 2:00 a.m. heartbreak of last call with your love interest nowhere to be found. With a voice that evokes comparisons to Delbert McClinton and Taj Mahal with a hint of Louis Armstrong thrown in, Byrnes has no trouble negotiating these various musical styles. There’s no better way to visit St. Louis than this terrific release.

Mark Smith

Year: 
2014