Jimmy Barnes undoubtedly is one of Australia’s hardest working musicians returning with his twentieth studio album Flesh And Blood. Our beloved Barnesie is not one to rest on his laurels making the most of being in isolation and not being able to tour as extensively in 2020. There’s no signs of Jimmy slowing down any time soon indicating that his best is still to come. Flesh And Blood is a family affair including his son Jackie on drums, his daughters Mahalia, Eliza-Jane and Elly-May all contributing vocals, as does Jackie and granddaughter, Tyra Harrison. His son-in-law, Ben Rodgers, engineered the album, played bass and collaborated with Jimmy’s nephew, renowned photographer Jesse Lizotte, on the album cover, plus he and Jane also duet together on the American classic Love Hurts. The theme that stands out is that of the importance of family and connectedness with the Barnes family being a shining light for resilience, strength and seeing the silver lining of what was a tough 2020 for many.
The first single and opening track Flesh And Blood kicks off the album in splendid fashion. It’s a heart warming and emotion stirring look at family. The video that accompanies this song definitely tugs on those heart strings giving a look at some home videos pieced together with the makings of the song with family in the studio. Interestingly, this song was co-written with brother in law Mark Lizotte (aka Diesel). That connection with family continues on the lyrically powerful and acoustic driving I’m Coming Home. The bagpipes are awesome and no doubt this will be a live staple and a single in waiting.
The way the album ebbs and flows heighten the emotions showing how Jimmy sees family, relationships and trying to make sense of it all from his perspective. Gateway To Your Heart is one of those moments and This Is The Truth backs off the pace a bit reconnecting with bluesy roots laying his soul bare. Around In Circles and the tender ‘Til Next Time are great tracks but one of the stand out moments for me is I Move Slow with Elly-May and Jackie on backing vocals. Grab the tissues for the self reflective and emotive End Of The Road, you could almost visualise this song closing the live show at the iconic Thebarton Theatre on the upcoming Flesh And Blood tour. Love Hurts featuring Jimmy’s wife Jane is wow! This cover has been taken to a whole new level which reaffirms the loving bond the two have for each other. The Tennessee Waltz is a stunning rendition (featuring Eliza Jane on backing vocals) on the country classic first released in 1948.
Flesh And Blood is a fantastic album and a rewarding listen. The deluxe version is a great pick also showing ten home performance videos by Jimmy and Jane Barnes, along with their family and friends, filmed throughout the pandemic. Don’t miss out on seeing this album come to life on the Flesh And Blood tour this September.
Album Review By Rob Lyon