Thursday, November 11, 2010
Artist: Jim Byrnes
Title: Everywhere West
The music industry has had its share of actors poising as musicians including; Eddie Murphy, Don Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Bruce ‘Bruno’ Willis and Jeff Daniels. Now we can add St. Louis born Jim Byrnes to that distinguished list. Of course this list goes both ways; musicians that have tried acting include; Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, “Ice Cube” and “Queen Latifah.”
Brynes’ latest album, ‘Everywhere West’ is a credible outing of blues based roots music that wanders among numerous influences and sound including a bluegrass textured, ‘Bootleggers Blues’ and the horn driven blues, ‘Black Nights.’ Like many progenitors, Byrnes travels the lore of being among the few white guy in the bar watching some of the blues genres greatest including Howlin’ Wolf performing ‘Red Rooster.’ Of the twelve tracks on the album Byrnes wrote three but included covers of Lowell Folsom, ‘Black Night,’ Robert Johnson ‘From Four Until Late’ (Also covered by Cream), Louis Jordan ‘You Can’t Get That Stuff No More’ and Jimmy Reed, ‘Take Out Some Insurance on Me.’
This album has a nice suburban blues sound and textures. It is well performed and arranged. While Byrnes’ is not a “star” per se in the acting field, his accomplishments as an actor and now a musician are inarguable. This is not an album that is going to rewrite the course of the blues genre; however, it is well above the hobbyist level and has entertainment value. While all the songs are ready for radio, programmers might focus on Byrnes’ cover of ‘He Was a Friend of Mine,’ a traditional song, which was also recorded by Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and The Byrds.