Album Review: Jim Byrnes – Walking Stick

jim byrnes walking stick coverAlbum Review: Jim Byrnes – Walking Stick [Black Hen]

SOUNDS LIKE: Randy Newman and Seasick Steve playing out-takes from Dylan’s ‘Modern Times’

WHY/WHY NOT: Having spent his life as an award-winning musician and actor, not to mention appearing with everyone from John Lee Hooker to Muddy Waters, Jim Byrnes has still got plenty to sing about. ‘Walking Stick’ finds him in a very comfortable place musically, carving out blues classics to be, re-telling folk tales and laying down the occasional cover.

Despite the rather lackluster opener (‘Ol’ Rattler’), Byrnes quickly recovers with his strongest song ‘Walk On Boy’, a plodding banjo-led re-imagining of the John Henry story, complete with clinking steel-hammer percussion. Also worth a mention is ‘Looking For Love’, a departure from the country-blues trail as Byrnes comes across all doo-wap and it could sit happily alongside early Motown recordings. Jim Byrnes has done well with ‘Walking Stick’, it’s an accomplished album of well written, carefully balanced tunes, there is no innovation, but that was never his intention.

Matt Parker

Released: 12/05/09

Written for SoundProof

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