TWO SIDES TO THIS TOWN
The Best Kick-Ass Heartbreakin’ Alt. Country Rock LA Has To Offer.
Obviously I can’t know everyone on the Americana scene; that would just be silly; but I do like to think I have my finger on the button; yet somewhere along the line I’ve totally missed multi-Award winning Bobo Byrnes in any of his guises be it solo or as part of Riddle of the Stars, The Fallenstars or The Brown Coats; all of whom sound like I’d love ’em!
Hey ho; on to Bobo’s latest solo effort which appears to be a reworking of some of his songs with the Fallenstars and the reason that I’m giddy with excitement.
It was the complex guitar lick that opens first song Angelia that first caught my ear; and when the band drop a musical time bomb after about thirty seconds I just knew this was going to be a doozy of a record.
Yup I can tell that quickly.
Angelia is an atypical Blue Collar Small Town Country/Americana love song about “driving to those high tension lines/where the night sky is so fine/Angelia/I want to dream with you tonight”.
OK Bruce trademarked such songs many years ago; but Byrnes and band do it so damn well and from the very bottom of the heart, you just know he’s not heard The River or if he did it was when his Dad’s played it.
Then up pops the dreamy Heart Like Mine; sung with a slight rasp to the throat and with bass player Mrs Tracy Byrnes adding extra pathos with her harmonies you just just know in your heart Mr Byrnes wrote this one long and lonely night in a cheap motel 100’s of miles from the love of his life.
For a solo-album Byrnes makes a mighty big noise on a few songs, which would have been Country Rock a few years ago but are probably Alt. Country or should that be Ameripolitan these days?
When I first heard the poignant Welfare Cadillac and the absolutely fizzing Summer Wine I did not just imagine Byrnes playing them live; but what the videos should look like as the notes and words filled the room.
I hear plenty of ‘good’ music by writers who use a ‘formula’ and there’s nothing wrong with that; but sometimes I hear songs where the writer just had to get the words down on paper without a thought or a care in the world regardless of the outcome; Vegas which closes the record is just such a song, from the heart and to the heart.
With six and a half of the songs here from his own pen (or I-Pad?) Byrnes roves himself to be quite the songwriter; but his rendering of the kick-ass Glad by Tracey Huffman, Matthew Ryan’s Dam and more importantly Chris Knight’s Jealous Kind show what great taste he has and a clever musical brain too.
But it’s his own songs that have impressed me the most with two fighting for the top spot of Favourite Track; will it be the laid back and reflective Last Hurrah or the left of centre Massachusetts where he actually duets with Tracey? Hmmmm; not easy but I’m going for the latter which again conjures up not just memories of Bruce when he was cool but guys like Robbie Fulks too.
Plus; as a collector of great couplets, who among you isn’t impressed with “Back in College when we were DJs/Elvis was Costello and whenever we played Red Shoes/we danced the night away!” Come on; maybe it’s an age thing but to me Elvis IS Costello too.
Not for the first nor I guess last time this year I’ve made another amazing discovery and now can’t wait to shout the name BOBO BYRNES (and Tracy Byrnes!) from the RMHQ Rooftop……..you gonna love this album.
Trust me; I know.
released April 08th 2018