Byrnes was born in St. Louis, Missouri – that’s blues
country. He grew up on the city’s north side. One of the neighbourhood
bars had Ike and Tina Turner as the house band. As a teenager going
to music clubs, he and his buddy were often the only white people
in the place. “We never had any problems. We were too naïve,
and had too much respect for the music and culture – they knew
it, they could tell.”
By age thirteen, Jim was singing and playing blues guitar. His first
professional gig was in 1964. Over the years, he has had the great
good fortune to appear with a virtual who’s who of the blues.
From Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker to Taj Mahal and Robert Cray,
Jim has been on the blues highway for 45 years.
Byrnes moved to Vancouver, BC in the mid-70s after years of drifting,
working odd jobs and playing music. In 1981 he put together a band
that became a staple of the local music scene. In 1986 the Jim Byrnes
Band played 300 nights.
Jim Byrnes’ fame as an actor has grown immeasurably from his
too-numerous-to-mention TV and movie roles, highlights including television’s
Wiseguy and Highlander series, and his national variety show The Jim
Jim has proven that a serious car accident in 1972 has done anything
but hinder him. Despite two swipes with death and some pretty hard
knocks, Byrnes has still managed to rack up an enviable string of
credits, both on and off-screen.
Jim’s first love, however, is the blues. His evocative, smoky
vocals are found in a truth that doesn’t come overnight. In
1981 he released Burnin’, followed in 1987 with I’ve Turned My Nights into Days and 1995’s
Juno-Award winning That River.
Jim’s has produced five outstanding albums in six years since
he hooked up with Steve Dawson, one of North America’s most
critically acclaimed roots music producers. 2004’s Fresh Horses and 2006’s gospel tinged Juno Award winning House Of Refuge set standards that aren’t often equalled.
My Walking Stick was the 2009 release ... a blood and
guts, behind your knees, love, life, death, and after life release
from the multi award winning Mr. Byrnes. Jim and Steve continued to
explore the gospel, blues, rockabilly, and country genres, and once
again pull it all together in an original and unique bluesy way.
A little more than a year later, the same team got together and produced Everywhere West. A salute to Jim’s origins and
influences, the CD sprinkled three exciting new originals in amongst
tracks by seminal blues artists.
In 2012, Jim decided to record I Hear The Wind in the Wires,
an album of songs from the golden age of country music – many
of which he’s been listening to for all his life. This time
around, he turns back the hands of time to take his listeners into
the world of country music, but it’s not the kind of country
we’ve heard on the radio any time this century. This is surely
the most natural, satisfying and downright joyous album of Byrnes’
lengthy career. Steve Dawson is back in the saddle again as producer
and multi-instrumentalist (electric, acoustic, slide, pedal steel
and baritone guitar, banjo, ukelele). To hear these two men celebrate
the music of Buck Owens, Ray Price, Hank Williams, Marty Robbins and
other country music legends is a rare and exhilarating experience.
Jim and Steve were back again in 2014 to celebrate a decade of great musical collaborations and the 250th anniversary of St. Louis Missouri. St. Louis Times is Byrnes' most personal record to date. Reminiscences of his childhood home of St. Louis are expressed through his original compositions as well as versions of songs he grew up with that were recorded by St. Louis musicians. The sheer joy you can hear in the music Jim Byrnes and company create is the real reason to celebrate. Jim Byrnes is a living musical treasure and this is his best record yet. And, that's saying something!
Jim Byrnes plays 150 dates a year in North America and Europe. He
will continue to bring his music to stages all over the world. Who
could ask for more than that?
2014 Maple Blues Awards (Best Male Vocalist — I Hear The Wind in the Wires)
2011 Juno winner (Blues Album of the Year — Everywhere West)
2011 Western Canadian Music Awards nominee (Blues Album of the Year
- Everywhere West)
2010 Western Canadian Music Awards Winner (Blues Album of the Year
— My Walking Stick)
2006 Juno Award winner (Blues Album of the Year — House of Refuge)
2006 Canadian Folk Music Award winner (Best Contemporary Singer —
House of Refuge)
2006 Canadian Folk Music Award winner (Producer / Steve Dawson —
House of Refuge)
2006 Maple Blues Awards 2-time winner (Recording of the Year —
House of Refuge)
2006 Maple Blues Awards 2-time winner (Best Male Vocalist —
House of Refuge)
2006 Leo Award nominee for music video (Just a Pilgrim)
2006 Champion for Kids Award — St. Louis Variety Club
2005 Maple Blues Awards 3-time nominee for Fresh Horses
2004 Juno Award nominee (for Fresh Horses)
2004 Western Canadian Music Awards 2-time nominee for Fresh Horses
2003 Heart Award — Variety Club of BC
1995 Inducted BC Entertainment Hall of Fame
1995 Juno Award winner (Blues/Gospel Album of the Year — That
1982 Juno Award nominee (Best New Artist)