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Jim Byrnes - My Walking Stick

Black Hen Music

Singer-guitarist-songwriter Jim Byrnes has won numerous Juno awards (the Canadian equivalent to the U.S Grammy).'My Walking Stick', is produced by Steve Dawson whose long collaboration with Byrnes as producer and musician has contributed to Byrnes successes.

The album starts with an eerie cut called 'Ol Rattler' with some nice vocal, slide and organ . 'Walk On Boy' is a gospel tinged song which includes the gospel singing group the "Sojourners". This track is great! Hypnotic rhythms and cool banjo.

The title cut 'My Walking Stick' is a classic Mills Brothers tune and is lots of fun with violin work from Jesse Zubot. 'Looking For A Love' is a fine R&B piece complete with outstanding vocals by the Sojourners.

Robbie Robertson of the Band's 'Ophelia', is a great song from another great Canadian musician. 'Talking in Circles' is a Jim Byrnes original with a Dr. John feel. Very good lyrics with a nice hook.

Three Shots' is another slide guitar eerie type track. 'Lonely Blue Boy' is a country gem with some fine pedal steel. 'Drowning in My Own Tears' is another slow R&B song. 'I'm Living Off The Love You Give' is more upbeat in the country-rock vein. 'What Are They Doing In Heaven Today' and 'I Want My Crown' are fabulous spirituals that are exceptionally well done.

The album concludes with the Jim Byrne original 'One Life' (Creole Poetry).

'My Walking Stick' is a well produced CD with exceptional musicianship. Jim Byrnes vocals are excellent and his songs are well written but the album just didn't have enough diversity for me when it comes to tempos. Too many slow ballads. Yes they are good songs but I found myself going to sleep. I needed a nice blues shuffle or something funky to wake me up. Next time keep it alive with some more upbeat material.

Reviewer Michael Packer  is a singer-guitarist from NYC who fronts his own band "The Michael Packer Blues Band". He has been performing for over 40 years and has recorded on major labels Atlantic and RCA.

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