New York rocker Ricky Byrd -- best known for his decade-long stint as lead guitarist in Joan Jett & The Blackhearts has just released his solo debut album, Lifer. Since breaking away from Jett in 1991, Byrd has played over the years with Ian Hunter and Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes. Byrd, Jett and the Blackhearts have been passed over again this year after making the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shortlist for two years running.

Southside Johnny Lyons was one of the key collaborators on the new set, and helps Byrd inject some Stax-infused R&B stylings into the classic sounding rock set: "I hook up with Southside, he calls me and asks me if I would fill in for Bobby Bandierra, who's going out with Bon Jovi as the second guitar player -- and I say, 'Yeah, that sounds like fun.' And, I think I played with them for about two-and-a-half years, on and off. And I said, 'I'm working on this record -- you wanna write a coupla things with me? 'Cause I know that South, what I learned from him is, I mean, he's got an incredible sense of phrasing and he's definitely knee-deep in soul rock n' roll -- and I know what South does. And I said, 'Y'know, what? Let's write this together.'

For more information, on Lifer and tour dates, log on to