Those who have lived - not just witnessed - the efflorescence of a pivotal culture moment never see the world through veiled eyes again. Jimmy Lyons was there, devising wholly original inventions of words and music while the Beats, the neo-folk troubadours, the post-bop jazz shooting stars, and the tie-dyed psychedelic rockers were scorching through the underbrush and opening new paths of creativity as alternatives to the increasingly bottom line-driven mainstream. Lyons, though, wasn't content to find a niche in one countercultural movement or another. He kept moving, observing, and writing new poems, stories, and songs. But he never gave up on the wry sophistication of the classic American popular song. Indeed, he has dedicated himself to infusing the same hallowed forms perfected by Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, and others, with his singular fantasias of ingeniously colored and textured wordplay.
These plays have a subtext only Lyons can provide, derived from what he calls the "rituals of the road" and the "the circular rhythms" of the race track, the beats and pulses of everyday American life that rarely raise a ripple on the surface of American culture. Lyons hears the screams and dreams of his countrymen and woman; from them he creates new modes of expression. He has been changed by each of his open-hearted an open-eared encounters, and this body of work is his way of making those changes sing and swing. - Derk Richardson