Billy Flynn review…April 8, 2017…

BILLY FLYNN

LONESOME HIGHWAY

DELMARK  DE-850

GOOD NAVIGATOR–IF IT WASN’T FOR THE BLUES–SMALL TOWN–LONESOME HIGHWAY–THE “IN” CROWD–NEVER HAD A CHANCE–WAITING GAME–HOLD ON–THE LUCKY KIND–JACKSON STREET–LONG LONG TIME–THE RIGHT TRACK–YOU ARE MY LOVER–I FEEL ‘UM–BLUES EXPRESS–SUFFERIN’ WITH THE BLUES–CHRISTMAS BLUES

Billy Flynn is an amazingly-versatile guitarist, singer, and composer who has ten albums under his belt as a leader, but he may be best-known for his work as a sideman on a myriad of projects for other artists, including Kim Wilson, Jimmy Dawkins, The Cash Box Kings, and a host of others too numerous to mention.  It is fitting, then, that Billy gets his due from Delmark, as they issue his first release for them, “Lonesome Highway.”  It is sixteen originals plus one too-cool-for-school instrumental cover of “The “In” Crowd,” that shows not only what a mighty six-stringer he is, but just how good a writer, vocalist, and harp man he’s evolved into.

His uniqueness and versatility are why he is such an in-demand player for some of the world’s best bluesmen.  As we listened, we tried to guess in which direction he’d take the next tune, making this set tremendously fun to work with.  There’s the “West Side rules” funk of  “Never Had A Chance,” and again with the stinging “If It Wasn’t For The Blues, I wouldn’t have a song to sing.”  He boogies like ol’ John Lee on “Waiting Game,” and lets his slide do the talking, Robert Nighthawk-style on the tale of his favorite little “lovin’ machine,”  who lives “over on Jackson Street!”

Along with the aforementioned instrumental of Ramsey Lewis’ “In” Crowd,” there’s another good one, too.  Billy’s guitar is on fire ridin’ the “Blues Express,” fueled by Doug Corcoran’s trumpet.

We had two favorites, and they bookended the set.  Close your eyes and listen to Billy’s guitar lines on the set-closing “Christmas Blues,” and you’ll swear it’s B B and Lucille!  And, the set opens just like ringin’ a bell, with Billy and duet partner Deitra Farr gettin’ down with the Berry-licious tale of traveling thru life with that one special “Good Navigator!”

It is almost surreal the way Billy Flynn can emulate the styles and signatures of the legends, while making everything his own.  He writes from personal experiences and things he’s seen over countless hours on the road, making his Delmark debut, “Lonesome Highway,” one of the year’s best thus far!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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