Approaching his 65th birthday this fall, Canadian blues legend Jim Byrnes is preferring the more intimate concerts - like the one he's offering in Langley Friday - compared to the larger traditional concerts.
"A good song is a song, that without all the production, still stands up," Byrnes told the Langley Advance just days before his Friday show at Cascades Casino.
"The intimate shows allow us to connect with the audience and get to the heart of the songs," he explained.
Always the perpetual storyteller, Byrnes said that while he loves singing, he also enjoys sharing the history of a song with the audience - whether he wrote it or not - and giving the song's story context.
"In this intimate atmosphere, I'm able to spin some tales, as well," he added. "And sometimes, the stories I share are just funny, and you need some laughs once in a while."
While he's played Cascades in past, Byrnes remembers many more times - earlier in his career - that he performed at Gabby's Country Cabaret.
"I'm back in the neighbourhood and it's nice to get out there," Byrnes said. "We want to see some old friends, and make some new friends, and I think people will really enjoy the mix we're bringing."
The West End musician will be accompanied at the Langley show by fellow musician Steve Dawson.
"He's an absolute whiz on the guiar," said Byrnes, recognized for his own abilities with the strings.
"It works so well with just two of us," Byrnes said, noting that they both returned from a tour of Holland and Belgium this past year, and completed a mini-tour of B.C. and Alberta in November and December.
Dawson also produced the last four of Byrnes' albums, including the one he released in October called I Hear The Wind In The Wires.
"It's a retro, real deal wagon-wheel country and western" album that features not only Byrnes' passion for blues but his abilities in other genres, including old-fashioned country.
He promises the Langley audience will be treated to a mix of his musical stylings, including some songs from the newest album, a mix of blues favourites from the 1920s through the present, and even a taste of music from another album he and Dawson are currently working on.
Byrnes is currently writing for his next album, hoping to start recording in May. In the meantime, he's performing a number of shows in the Lower Mainland during the next few weeks, including a repeat performance at an annual Deep Cove theatre fundraiser, an SPCA benefit concert in Vancouver, and a children's benefit show in Maple Ridge on Feb. 8.
As for the Langley show, in addition to Byrnes and Dawson performing, roots and rock artist Babe Gurr will be opening the show.
The concert is being held Friday, Feb. 1, in Cascade's Summit Theatre, at 20393 Fraser Hwy. Doors open at 7 p.m., with the show at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $37.50 and available in advance at the casino's guest service desk, online at www.ticketweb.ca, or by calling 604-530-2211.
HOW TO WIN A pair of tickets to see Jim Byrnes and Steve Dawson
Two lucky readers will each win a pair of tickets to this Feb. 1 concert at Cascades
How do you win?
. Visit the Langley Advance website at: www.langleyadvance.com, find "More Ways to Connect," and click on "send us your letters, photos, video."
. Fill in your name, email, and number.
. Then write a short note explaining why you want to attend this show. Please note your community, and include the keyword "Byrnes" at the top of the note. Preference is given to Langley residents.
Entries must be received prior to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31 and winners will be notified by email and/or telephone. Note: submitted comments could be used in future editions of the newspaper. No staff or family of the Langley Advance or Glacier Media are eligible. This contest is restricted to online participants, 19 years or older only.