Barnes and Lyons
April 17, 2005
NY JASON SONGE
Well, it was tough but philanthropic. "Sunpie" Barnes and Jeremy Lyons performed as a duo during The Refrigerator Art Auction at Twiropa Sunday night. It benefited the International School of Louisiana.
A smattering of applause greeted the two after each song in the 1500 capacity Live Room. Since only three or four people stood between the stage and the first four empty rows of tables as the event got going, a miniscule amount of energy was directed towards them. But, whatcha gonna do? All the well-doers of the upper class weren't there for the music, anyway(Website contributor Marty Garner was on hand wearing an appropriate "Upper Crust" t-shirt).
The music was great. "Sunpie" and Lyons had fun feeding off one another and performing some songs they obviously hadn't played before. During one number Lyons' focus was divided between keeping the song on track and figuring out where "Sunpie" would direct it next.
"Sunpie" stuck to his briefcase arsenal of harmonicas for instrumentation, while Lyons switched between an electric guitar and a banjo. The genre of the songs didn't switch when Lyons did, though. He used both for zydeco jug-stompers and smoldering blues numbers. It was toe-tapping and chest-thumping music when chugging along. Swaying and silent reverence was appropriate for the slower songs.
Maybe because he was a large man but "Sunpie" had a magentic presence as a bluesman. His lilting, passionate voice gave authenticity to the messages in the songs, which were sometimes sexual. The double entendres--"sugar"--in the blues were fun because they were rebellious. They harkened back to a time when innocence was so revered that it had to be fought. I wouldn't know anything about that, though.
Lyons was his normal real-deal self. When "Sunpie" gave him a solo and Lyons could expound upon his slide guitar abilities, I might as well have been standing in the center of The Bible. His playing was true. Undeniably moving.
Both Jeremy Lyons and The Deltabilly Boys and "Sunpie" Barnes and The Louisiana Sunspots will be playing The 2005 Jazzfest. Seek them out.