Album artwork with red vinyl record popping out“I got nothing to sell,” Jimmy Barnes declares in Gateway To Your Heart from his 20th solo studio album – though he has become an industry in the past few years, with autobiographies, children’s books, cook books, stage shows and documentaries.

But at the heart of it all, Barnesy is a singer. This Is The Truth – the centrepiece of this record – puts the focus on his undeniable vocal, filled with heart and emotion. And the Jimmy Webb-like ’Til The Next Time shows he’s a fine storyteller as well.

Nearly three decades after his acoustic collection Flesh and Wood, Flesh and Blood is a rocking affair, a sure-footed set of songs that sits comfortably alongside his classic ’80s solo work. The Springsteen-esque title track is a love letter to family, passing on the hard lessons he’s learned along the way. “You see, I tried to teach them how to swim,” he sings, “through waters deep, so they won’t drown/ To keep their heads up high, ’cause that same water used to drag me down.”

The album concludes with a couple of surprising covers – Love Hurts (a duet with wife Jane) and Tennessee Waltz, complete with bagpipes, with daughter Eliza-Jane. “The final step I take is getting near,” Barnesy notes. But right now, he remains at the top of his game.

Flesh and Blood by Jimmy Barnes is out July 2 via Bloodlines.

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