CHRIS SHUTTERS & JIMMY BURNS
A combination bigger than its sum.
Two strong singers, writers, and guitarists commit to a shared project... Sometimes it doesn't work. But this ain't one of those times. Good Gone Bad, the result of a partnership between Chris Shutters and Jimmy Burns is a balanced, exciting, wide-lens view at blues, rock and roll, pop, acoustic ease and electric flash, that extolls joy, sorrow, and sharing.
About Chris Shutters and Jimmy Burns
Here’s a resume for you:
Besides leading his self-named band, songwriter, singer, and guitarist Chris Shutters was also the front man and lead guitarist for the 21st century edition of Mountain. He was charged with performing the songs made famous by Leslie West and working alongside original member Corkey Laing. But it doesn’t stop there. Chris brought his vocal and guitar chops to ‘Music of Cream’ as the lead guitarist and vocalist, first working with Kofi Baker then alongside Will Johns, the nephew of Eric Clapton.
Three solo albums preceded Chris’s joining Third Street and he’d already landed numerous variations of ‘best artist’ awards in various markets where he’s worked, including Chicago and Austin.
Chris’s first release for Third Street Cigar is a collaboration with a blues journeyman, Jimmy Burns. Burns delivered a string of blues gems as singles for a variety of labels in the 1960s. The next decade, he switched to the barbecue business. But he found his way back to the studio by 1996, when he made his first LP for Delmark. A dozen or so years later, Jimmy was running open mic nights at Buddy Guy’s Legends club, and that’s when Chris entered the picture. Shutters recalls the night he wound up on stage with the senior artist after asking for a one-song slot: “I did two songs, and then he looked at me and he goes, ‘I want you to stay up here. I love the way you sound. You sounded great.’ So I played with him the whole night.”
And that’s where the story might end, save for Jimmy Burns crossing Chris’s mind several years later. Chris called Jimmy just to say hello and told him about some blues tunes he’d been writing. Before long, the idea of a session was hit upon.
The basic tracks for Good Gone Bad were cut in just a few days, with Jimmy bringing in three songs to add to Chris’s seven. Vocals were swapped back and forth, with each writer singing his own, save for the title cut, where Chris and Jimmy take the lead together. They don’t so much harmonize as they align their voices, and to terrific effect, with both shining together instead of just blending.
The roots of the record, though, go back to the passing of another one-time Memphis resident. “When B.B. King passed away,” Chris says, “I wrote a song called ‘Can’t Play the Blues Like B.B.’ I had it for a while and I never did anything with it and when I reconnected with Jimmy, I just said, ‘Let’s use this.’” “Can’t Play The Blues…”, inspired by Chris’s personal encounters with the King Of The Blues, is a story of a senior musician chiding a young hot shot. For many listeners, it will be the centerpiece of Good Gone Bad, a record where the listener can hear the blues form a bridge that spans decades.
Click to enlarge