Barton – Simple Songs
You don’t live in Paris, Paris lives in you. This artistic haven has obviously influenced Barton’s music – it has given it a sort of joyful freedom with a pinch of optimism. “Simple Songs” is an album you should listen on a rainy day when you’re reliving sunny memories. It was released under the label of “Synaptic Traffic” on February 1, 2016, after the success of Barton’s previous album “Falling Out”, which came out in 2012. Before his solo career, Barton was known for playing in bands like Suntribe, Petal, Angus Stone, Gossling, Bo and The Liberation of Colette Simple, as well as writing short stories and novels. In “Simple Songs” we get to hear a number of guest lead singers – Mari Lane, Jennifer Nau, Tara Walker, Paul Kane, Katie McNeely and Jessica Speigel. Some of Barton’s rock influences are Led Zeppelin, Rush, Beatles and Queen. He’s currently recording new music with Tara Walker, as well as performing in acoustic concerts with Petal.
“Simple Songs” opens with “We Are the Ones” – a happy go lucky song with amazing vocal harmonies that sounds like the less prog version of Yes. Next we move on to “Way About Her”. It’s a truly sweet song about the small things you notice when you’re in love with someone. “The Healer” is a nice piece with beautiful, country guitar melody, although not a very impressive vocal one. The next song on the playlist “Tool” is one of my favorites – the rhythm and darker sound really make it stand out. A funky piece with amazing vocals and fun lyrics, “Wtf” is definitely a charming tune. That leads us to “Once Upon a Time” – one of the undeniable pearls in “Simple Songs”. A beautiful melody, versatile rhythm patterns, amazing guitar solo, great lyrics, “Once Upon a Time” has it all.
“Glamour in the Sky” is smooth and interesting; however I personally don’t enjoy the auto tuned vocals. The next song is “The Gatekeeper” and its enthusiasm and shredding guitar solo cannot leave you indifferent. That leads us to “For Awhile”, a beautiful piece and definitely another of the album’s pearls. “Palo Alto” is the next song on the playlist, dedicated to the California city, birthplace of geniuses Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. Next we hear “Some Day”, a nice piece influenced by French music. “The Red Line” is a smooth blues that really deserves your attention. The next piece on “Simple Songs” is called “Bridge to Nowhere”. This instrumental will surely keep you entertained with its various themes and unexpected time signature changes. We get to the classical blues “Hurt Me”, that’s definitely one for the guitar solo lovers. Next we hear “The Dead Hand”, the heaviest piece on the album. Although I really like the way the guitars sound and the chorus is incredibly catchy, I feel like “The Dead Hand” doesn’t fit in with rest of “Simple Songs”. The last piece on the album is “The Big Dig”. I have to admit, I did find the title funny. The song itself is very nice – the perfect ending to an overall great album!