It may be his name on the cover but family is at the heart of Jimmy Barnes’ new record Flesh And Blood.
He’s getting the family band back together for a special concert livestream on Saturday as the latest Covid outbreaks and border closures forced Barnes to reschedule his national tour due to kick off in Perth this weekend.
Barnes said the concert will be a longer version of the hundreds of “Jane Barnes Band” online song sessions which have entertained and comforted millions of Australians during the pandemic and clocked up more than 100 million views.
As well as showcasing songs from the new record, including the title track he performed in tribute to his mate Michael Gudinski at his memorial in March, the gig will kick off with their rendition of the Bette Midler ballad The Rose.
“We did it with the Jane Barnes band and I played bagpipes on it and it was beautiful. That song is going to be the opening on the tour, whenever it goes ahead, because this album stems from the sessions we did in lockdown,” he said.
Flesh and Blood couldn’t have been made without his clan. Wife Jane duets on their cover of Love Hurts and the voices of their daughters Mahalia, Eliza Jane and Elly May also feature.
Son-in-law Ben Rodgers – married to Mahalia – engineered the album, played bass, and collaborated with Barnes’ nephew, renowned photographer Jesse Lizotte, on the album cover and artwork.
And brother-in-law, and musical partner in crime for more than three decades, Mark Lizotte co-wrote six tracks.
But there are a couple of surprises for fans who have tracked the evolution of the extended Barnes family band over the past 15 months.
His son Jackie, the powerhouse drummer for Rose Tattoo, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, reveals the sweetest voice on I Move Slow, a song he penned with folk pop artist Alys Ffion for their Chance Carousel side project.
“I loved that song when they recorded it, it’s really, really gorgeous. For such an animal of a drummer, he’s such a calm and gentle soul,” Barnes said.
“And part of me thought it was hilarious to sing I Move Slow, because I don’t. Singing it with Jackie and Elly-May, who can’t move much at all since her operations, we were all making jokes about us odd three singing it together.
“EJ (Eliza Jane) cried when she first heard it, going ‘Oh listen to Jackie’s sweet voice’.”
Another Flesh and Blood co-star is granddaughter Tyra Harrison who not only sings but assisted recording the songs in the Barnes home studios.
Barnes said Harrison had become part of the studio team to work on various album sessions in recent years after studying sound engineering.
“Tyra is one of those people who learns fast and she could run that studio by herself now. And she’s got a beautiful voice so she’s very handy to have around. Plus being my granddaughter, I love her dearly,” the proud granddad said.
While there can be no doubting his love for his family as evidenced during the online performances, the Flesh and Blood record does explore some of the darker themes Barnes wrestled with in his best-selling memoirs.
Til’ The Next Time was inspired by the sleepless nights he spends staring at the ceiling and wondering “am I good enough for this family?”
“When I say this is a family album, it’s my perspective on what family is, about flesh and blood. But if I had made it with everyone being equal and having their two cents’ worth, it would have taken two years navigating that minefield,” he said.
“It’s my take on love, on seeing yourself – the good and the bad – in your children, on watching my parents trying to keep a family together in Glasgow.
“When they all came to do this album, as a family, they all brought their love and their care to help me to do it. And one day, we will do the family album.”
Ed Sheeran is also now an honorary member of the Barnes family, having enlisted Jimmy and Kylie Minogue to singing back vocals on Visiting Hours, the song the British superstar wrote for his mentor and friend Michael Gudinski and performed at his memorial.
The Flesh and Blood concert will stream on the Jimmy Barnes Facebook page from 6.30pm on Saturday.
Flesh and Blood is out on Friday and Jimmy Barnes has teamed with JB Hi-Fi for a special discount offer.
*Special offer ends Sunday 4 July (11.59pm AEST). Coupon is redeemable at a JB Hi-Fi Australia stores or jbhifi.com.au for the Jimmy Barnes Flesh And Blood on CD, Deluxe CD and Vinyl (sku 438693, 439689, 439697) only. 20% discount is calculated off the current ticket or promotional price. Coupon cannot be used in conjunction with any other coupon offer. Delivery charges apply for online orders. While Stocks Last.
Originally published as Get a discount on Jimmy Barnes’ new album