Sixty nine year old, multiple Canadian Juno and Maple Blues Awards winner, Jim Byrnes turns the clock back to his St Louis high school days for inspiration on his latest release. In particular, songs he heard on his car radio that moved him to pursue a musical career.
The likes of ‘Something On My Mind’ by Bobby Marchan, ‘Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City’ by Bobby Bland (Whitesnake’s interpretation, no doubt more familiar to the GRTR! readership), and ‘Out Of Left Field’ by Percy Sledge.
Collaborating once again with award winning guitarist and producer Steve Dawson, Byrnes focuses not on tasty blues guitar lines, but on restrained vocal performances that resurrect the haunting deliveries of haggard bluesmen been and gone, and brings the very best out of re-working of classics by the likes of Eddie Floyd, Elmore James, Willie Dixon, Leonard Cohen and Robbie Robertson, alongside two co-written songs and a Steve Dawson original.
While much of the set is what I would consider traditional ‘roots’ blues that oozes the spirit of a bygone era, any music lover will appreciate the opening swamp blues of ‘Step by Step’, replete with Stax era horns and gospel backing vocals, the evocative rendition of ‘Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City’, and Byrnes/Dawson’s own simmering’ Long Hot Summer Days’ with its wonderfully understated organ work.
It might be aimed at a niche market, but this is Blues delivered with soul, for those who like it ‘like it used to be’.