Exposé Online banner

Martin Barre — Roads Less Travelled
(Cleopatra Garage GAR0002, 2018, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-01-08

Roads Less Travelled Cover art

Given his long tenure in Jethro Tull, Martin Barre’s distinctive style of guitar playing has to be one of the iconic elements of progressive rock, and it is testament in part to his skillful blending of rock, folk, and blues phrasing that he is less emulated than some of his contemporaries like David Gilmour, Steve Howe, and Steve Hackett. This new album finds the veteran dishing out 11 tracks of catchy rock with distinct folk tinges courtesy of mandolin, mandola, banjo, and acoustic guitar on several of the songs. There are no complex multi-part suites or anything, just well-written songs in the three-to-six minute range, so one could probably make a comparison to one of the more straightforward Tull albums — say Rock Island or Catfish Rising — though to my ear Roads Less Travelled is more satisfying than either of those. Dan Crisp handles vocals on most of the tracks, though Becca Langsford provides a lovely alternative on “Badcore Blues” and Alex Hart takes "You Are an Angel." Barre provides a good balance of tempos and sounds, giving each tune its own identity and keeping things interesting. His playing is impeccable on all of his instruments, tasty and imaginative, whether hitting the wah-wah, slide, or straight picking, and the blending of acoustic instruments with electrics is beautiful. His rhythm section of Alan Thomson (bass) and Darby Todd (drums) is spot on, energetic when they need to be, subtle when that’s called for. A few tracks feature keyboards from Josiah Johnson, but for the most part it’s Barre on multiple parts. He’s a master of technique without being overtly flashy, but even more a master of arrangement and texture, playing exactly the right thing on the right instrument with the right tone for every situation. Far from simply being a guitar geek’s album, this is a solid set of timeless songs that deserves to reach a broad audience.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Martin Barre

More info
http://martinbarremusic.bandcamp.com/album/road-less-travelled

Latest news

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Rush - Snakes and Arrows – When a short audio sample of "Far Cry" was posted on Rush's web site it led to excited and hopeful premonitions of a return to the kind of prog rock the Canadian trio had pioneered on...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues