Jim Byrnes | House of Refuge

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Blues: Acoustic Blues Spiritual: Traditional Gospel Moods: Type: Acoustic
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House of Refuge

by Jim Byrnes

This brand new Jim Byrnes release "House of Refuge" presents traditional gospel/soul/blues, complimented with stellar instrumentation including the likes of pedal steel guitar, fiddle, hammond organ, and stand up bass.
Genre: Blues: Acoustic Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Didn't it Rain
4:36 album only
2. Of Whom Shall I Be Afraid
3:59 album only
3. Running Out of Time
4:36 album only
4. Big Bill's Blues
4:11 album only
5. Lay Me Down Sweet Jesus
4:23 album only
6. Today
4:23 album only
7. Stardust
4:27 album only
8. Be Ready When He Comes
5:27 album only
9. The Death of Ernesto Guevara
4:15 album only
10. Last Fair Deal Gone Down
3:15 album only
11. Fortify Me
4:53 album only
12. The Beast In Me
3:32 album only


Album Notes
On “House of Refuge”, multi nominated and Juno Award winner Jim Byrnes has dug deep into the traditions that have influenced the whole of his life. Growing up on the north side of St. Louis, Byrnes was surrounded by the likes of Chuck Berry, Johnny Johnson, and Ike and Tina Turner. Over the years Jim has appeared with a virtual who’s who of musical history including Furry Lewis, Henry Townsend, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Taj Mahal, Robert Cray, and Ray Charles. With House of Refuge, Jim Byrnes has let this life wash over him and come up with perhaps the most inspired and soulful album of his already accomplished and storied career.

Recorded and produced in Vancouver by another Juno Award winner Steve Dawson, “House of Refuge” is the follow up to 2004’s “Fresh Horses” and is much more than just a gospel tinged record. It is a twelve track long player of songs and stories of deep soul and faith all brought to breathe by a lust for life and a deference for death. Besides Byrnes and Dawson on guitars, the album features Jesse Zubot on fiddle and mandolin, Elliot Polsky on percussion and drums, Keith Lowe on double bass, Chris Gestrin on keyboard/organ/accordion and the gospel trio The Sojourners on vocals who are Marcus Mosely, Will Sanders, and Ron Small.

Starting with a stirring a capella section from The Sojourners, the traditional album opener “Didn’t It Rain” then launches into a powerful back beat of hope and salvation. This is quickly followed by two songs Byrnes penned when he was in Lithuania shooting the feature film Highlander - The Source. While the gorgeous “Of Whom Shall I Be Afraid” is a nod to the 27th Psalm, the slowly urgent death chaser “Running Out Of Time”, was written by Byrnes in the time it takes to sing it. Another Byrnes original, “The Death of Ernesto” was written in the middle of the night in the Utah Mountains after meeting Che Guevara in a dream. Whether it is the uplifting interpretation of the “Father Of Gospel” Thomas A. Dorsey’s “Today” or the ghost of legendary WLAC DJ John R in Robert Johnson’s “Last Fair Deal Gone Down” or even Jim’s version of young Canadian songwriter Justin Rutledge’s “Lay Me Down Sweet Jesus”, this is not just a trip, it is a journey. When the bone chilling curtain call closer of Nick Lowe’s “The Beast In Me” comes to an end, “House of Refuge” is a journey you will want to trip through again and again.

Jim Byrnes and his acoustic band has been a major draw at festivals and shows all over Canada the last 2 years and this year should be no different. Watch for Jim and the band as they tour to support their new album. From their “House of Refuge” all the way to yours.



to write a review

Faith :-)

Wow. Can't stop listening to this CD.
House of Refuge is a rare CD in that every song is solidly good: vocals, instrumentals, production. I don't think of myself as a Blues/Gospel fan, but I am of this album. I am wearing out this CD ... it truly is a 'must have' album. Don't hesitate! It just gets better and better with every listen.

Doreen Stobbe

house of refuge
I\'m new to Jim\'s music. Was intrigued by a write-up in an Island paper and took a chance. Glad I did. Loved it, expecially Lay Me Down Sweet Jesus, Death of Ernesto Guevara and Fortify Me.
Thanks for the good company of your songs.

chris-brighton england

a masterpiece totally glorious!!!

Jennie Rogers

Doesn't Disappoint!
Jim Byrnes has done it again with this release. Each song is beautiful, and once you start listening to it, it's hard to stop. It's definitely worth getting!

Roberta - Plano TX

A great CD from start to finish.
I expected this to be a pretty good CD but wasn't prepared for how incredible it is. I love the energy and intensity of every track. Thanks, Jim.

Hans van Kessel

House of Refuge
It is funny how one thing leads to another. When reading a review of this CD in the local newspaper, I recognized Jim Byrnes' name from the old Highlander TV series. This turned out to be very fortuitous because I discovered another great artist & CD to add to my blues collection. I like the variety of styles; the whole CD just feels good. Highly recommended!
Hans - Gabriola BC