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Music Review - `Two Sides to this Town` by Bobbo Byrnes (dm)

Bobbo Byrnes - Two Sides to This Town

11 Jan 2019


Bobbo Byrnes -

Two Sides to This Town, the new solo record from singer/songwriter Bobbo Byrnes, has a name that effectively communicates the character of its deftly crafted and effectual songs: They have a tough exterior, but a tender heart. Leading his raucous band through ten high energy, Americana songs, Byrnes tells stories of love, loss, nostalgia, and desperation, taking time to cut through his thoughtful lyrics with potent rock ‘n’ roll guitar,or as he affectionately and modestly calls it in the album liner notes, “noisier guitar solos.”


His songwriting shines most illuminatively on the record’s bookends – the opening, “Angelia,” and the closer “Vegas.” The latter is especially unforgettable for its moving lyrics and infectious melody. Byrnes, on occasion, stretches his voice too thin, but sharp and savvy musical ornamentation elevates many songs to higher, irresistible ground, such as the horns on “Welfare Cadillac” and Tracy Byrnes’ sweet and emotive backup vocals throughout the entirety of Two Sides to This Town.


A strong cover rendition of Chris Knight’s “Jealous Kind” demonstrates the musical milieu in which Byrnes wants to work, but because he is not as myopically grim as Knight, but just as adept at evoking emotion through song, his tour of town is much more satisfying.


 David Masciotra



David Masciotra ( is the author of four books, including Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing, 2017) and Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).






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