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On disc: Jimmy Barnes

Out In The Blue - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars

Out In The Blue

Out In The Blue
(Liberation Music - 2008)

With Out In The Blue Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes presents his 13th solo album, but many rock fans know him from his days with Cold Chisel. Anyway, the latest piece of work is probably the most personal album Barnes ever did, coz he wrote the songs when recovering from open-heart surgery. Barnes said about the album: "People say something happens from 'out of the blue'. Well, I felt for a long time after the operation that I wasn't coming back from 'out in the blue'. And I was in bed one night and I wrote this set of lyrics. And basically that's the story of my life - I've been out in the blue. My only lifeline has been Jane my wife. I've been out there and she helped pull me back in - and I really like being back in."
Barnes also wanted to have a different sound for the album and hired Nash Chambers to make it sound pure and organic. And due to being forced to write the songs only with an acoustic guitar and being unable to do high shrieks the album sounds different. Chambers gathered the musicians incl. Midnight Oil guitarist Jim Moginie. But the album also became more personal through the participation of Barnes' sons, Jackie and EJ co-wrote songs and Jackie even plays on the album.
Opening up with I Can't Tell You Why the transition becomes obvious. The bluesy rocker has a slight Southern Rock touch, a bit CCR-ish... The title track is a personal tune and very intense, coz somehow Jimmy Barnes confesses about his life - and others will feel the same way. The song is a slow balladesque rocker which should hook you up right away. A bit faster and more rock is You From Me which is another very personal track. The song isn't very powerful, but the vocals are! Very cool one! The song Blue Hotel was written by Neil Finn for this album; it kicks off slowly with a piano. A very laid back tune which is dominated by the piano and Barnes' voice. A kind of love song is the duet of Jimmy Barnes and Kasey Chambers on When Two Hearts Collide. Kasey's voice has everything in it, it's mournful and has soul. Their voices fit well together. But then it's time to rock again. Well, not as he did in the past, but Red Light is one of the tunes on Out In The Blue which rock. A bluesy one is Everything's Changing which Barnes wrote with his son EJ. With Better Off Alone you get a country rocker with a positive, almost happy vibe. While Water Wash All Over Me has dark lyrics which were written when Barnes kinda drowned in his alcohol and drug abuse. He describes the feeling he had at this point of his life. The song is touching, gives you shivers. Another highlight on this album! Forgiveness is another touching tune and with this sad one Out In The Blue ends.
Perhaps not what his fans expect, but the songs are very personal and make this album special. Some songs rock, but it's more balladesque stuff and semi-acoustic ones on this album - and somehow this makes the album special. It shows that after all these years Jimmy Barnes is still hear and soul about his music. A very emotional album which shows Mr. Barnes in a different way.

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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