Jim Byrnes Fresh Horses

Gruff, smoky, and soulful vocals greet the first-time listener of blues journeyman Jim Byrnes, a veteran of the genre who has been on that blues highway for the past 40 years. Backed by the multitalented instrumentalists Jesse Zubot and Steve Dawson, legendary Missouri musician Jim Byrnes creates a dozen swampy and freshly brewed blues numbers. Zubot’s frenetic fiddle playing adds a unique element that is often missing from Byrnes’s blues and Dawson’s array of guitars — from the Weissenborn Hawaiian guitar to the lap steel and slide guitars — adds yet another layer. As Byrnes says of this meeting of likeminded musical minds, "Steve Dawson approached me about the possibility of collaboration and I leapt at the opportunity to create a musical dialogue with the very finest players of a whole new generation.” On Fresh Horses, Byrnes tackles a few of the greatest songwriters of both the blues and folk rock genre with success. Covering Muddy Waters’ classic, "I Can’t Be Satisfied,” Byrnes gives a fine tribute to the late great blues legend. Byrnes also offers bluesy remakes of Bob Dylan’s "Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” and Neil Young’s eerie "For the Turnstiles.” The title track "Fresh Horses” is an intricate and original instrumental that waffles between a jazz song and a country blues; it clearly emotes this musical dialogue between the generations, which the album is all about. (Black Hen)