Jim Byrnes, HOUSE OF REFUGE
Oh. My. Gosh.
Subtitled "Songs of Hope, Longing, Sin and Redemption," this brand new release from Vancouver musician/actor Byrnes is a stunning album. Produced by Steve Dawson (who you've heard at CHRISTMAS PRESENCE and TESTIMONY and various PT events), it's absolutely world class. Just breathtaking. Loads of gospel and gospel-related tunes, from traditional numbers backed by The Sojourners (Marcus Mosely, Will Sanders and Ron Small - all are featured soloists with the Universal Gospel Choir, and they're sublime as a trio) to Nick Lowe's extraordinary "The Beast In Me" to a heartbreakingly beautiful rendition of the 20th century's most gorgeous melody, "Stardust," which Byrnes dedicates to his mother. Tons and tons of tasty playing by multi-Juno-winner Dawson, who is a national treasure. (Can you tell I like this record?)
I guarantee this one. It simply couldn't be better. I've played it continuously since my buddy Rudi brought it by my place, so I can testify that it wears well. And you know what's best of all? Byrnes and the Sojourners will be playing the Rogue Folk Club Friday September 29!
P.S. And this note from a Soul Food reader; "Ron, based on your comments on Jim Byrnes House of Refuge, I picked up a copy, and have listened to it through many times since. I agree - the album is just stunning! I was working on my father-in-laws memorial service tribute & program this week, and spent many hours at the computer, listening to the album at the same time. Music has this amazing connectivity with events and moods and emotion, and I think I've firmly imprinted Jim's tunes along with memories of Dad. Thanks for the steer to the soul food!"