Paul Barr

Paul-barr-med_bigthumb

Paul Barr is a Music Specialist at Readings Carlton.

Reviews

Remedy by Old Crow Medicine Show

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Virginian string band Old Crow Medicine Show have a fearsome live reputation, but it’s one that has never quite translated to disc. Previous albums have been good but uneven. No problems like that he…

Read more ›

Common Ground: Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin Play and Sing The Songs of Big Bill Broonzy

Reviewed by Paul Barr

American bluesman Big Bill Broonzy may not be revered as much as Robert Johnson but his influence remains. His 300-plus songs and acoustic guitar style influenced the likes of Muddy Waters and a whol…

Read more ›

Folk Singer: Volume 1 by Willie Watson

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Don’t let the cover and title of this album put you off. The black-and-white cover art depicts Willie Watson smoking a pipe and wearing dark sunglasses, an acoustic guitar slung around his shoulders …

Read more ›

Tin Star by Lindi Ortega

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Lindi Ortega hails from Toronto, Canada and is a fast-rising star on the modern country scene. Tin Star is the third album from this songbird, who now calls Nashville home. Ortega has a powerful voic…

Read more ›

Zoom by Rachid Taha

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Rachid Taha, born in Algeria but who spent his formative years in France, has made a string of very good albums combining North African sounds with Western-style rock. His last album from 2009, Bonjo

Read more ›

Winter Pick by Justin Bernasconi

Reviewed by Paul Barr

I’d heard really good things in advance about Winter Pick and I’m pleased to say it’s more impressive and even more diverse than what I expected. Singer–songwriter and guitar picker Justin Bernasconi…

Read more ›

The Phoenix And The Turtle by Beverley Martyn

Reviewed by Paul Barr

After a long period of illness, Beverley Martyn has re-emerged with another of her sporadic recordings. Martyn is a name remembered by some from the amazingly creative folk–rock period of the late 19…

Read more ›

Beneath The Sun by Tom E Lewis

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Born in Arnhem Land, actor and musician Tom E. Lewis has produced two very good albums to date. Sunshine After Rain, from 2006, used spoken word and atmospheric musical settings to great effect, thou…

Read more ›

The Gloaming by The Gloaming

Reviewed by Paul Barr

On their debut album, Irish–American five-piece The Gloaming have produced a startling take on Irish traditional music with the addition of minimalist contemporary piano.

All the band members have l…

Read more ›

Riturnella by Kavisha Mazzella

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Riturnella is a beautiful group of Italian folk songs from the 1400s onwards. Here, Kavisha Mazella has returned to a collection of songs she heard many years ago on a friend’s cassette player, music…

Read more ›

Vagabond by Eddi Reader

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Glaswegian Eddi Reader has had a long and varied career: busker, actor, backup singer for some big names, including Gang of Four and Eurythmics, brief pop stardom with Fairground Attraction, and then…

Read more ›

Quercus by June Tabor, Iain Ballamy & Huw Warren

Reviewed by Paul Barr

June Tabor has been a mainstay on the English folk scene since the late 60s, along with her longtime saxophonist Iain Ballamy and pianist Huw Warren. The real surprise with Quercus is that it crops u…

Read more ›

Talé by Salif Keita

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Salif Keita does an acoustic album every now and then, but Talé is not one of those. Rather, it’s a contemporary record full of modern dance grooves, a host of special guests and that golden voice.

Read more ›

Jama Ko by Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Mali’s Bassekou Kouyate is a virtuoso on the Ngoni (an African string instrument similar to the lute). Jama Ko was recorded in Kouyate’s house, not far from where last year’s coup occurred in the cap…

Read more ›

First Came Memphis Minnie by Various Artists

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Memphis Minnie was a tough, influential blues singer and guitarist who had a three-decade long career from the late 20s to the late 50s, and who lived life to the full. She would influence players li…

Read more ›

Old Yellow Moon by Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Long-time friends and musical compadres Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell have finally got round to making a proper album together. Harris signed Crowell up as a member of her band in 1975 after hear…

Read more ›

Buddy & Jim by Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Longtime mates Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale have finally got round to making an album. And what an enjoyable listen it is, with their rough harmonies working beautifully together.

Miller’s great …

Read more ›

Traveling Alone by Tift Merritt

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Texas-born Tift Merrit listened to a lot of Joni Mitchell in her youth before moving to North Carolina and starting out as a singer-songwriter. Merritt is a gifted musician and if you like the mix of…

Read more ›

Wiley Ways by Hat Fitz & Cara

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Wiley Ways is the second release from Hat Fitz and Cara, a blues guitarist from Queensland and a folk singer who met at a festival in Ireland. Producer Jeff Lang adds lap steel and bass percussion, w…

Read more ›

In Echoes Of Dawn by Matt Walker

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Matt Walker is known as a producer and gun-for-hire, having added distinctive guitar sounds to music from Liz Stringer, Brod Smith and many more. In Echoes of Dawn showcases his maturation as a songw…

Read more ›

Delta Time by Hans Theessink & Terry Evans

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Hans Theessink is a busy European bluesman who plays over 250 gigs a year. Terry Evans is one of the best gospel blues singers around, whose long association with Ry Cooder goes back to the 1976 reco…

Read more ›

Into The Blues by Nick Charles

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Nick Charles is one of Australia’s premier finger pickers. For his latest collection, he revisits the blues: the music that inspired him to pick up a guitar in the first place. The sound he gets out …

Read more ›

This New Morning by Luka Bloom

Reviewed by Paul Barr

It’s been a while for Irish singer-songwriter Luka Bloom, but over the last few years he’s been doing some deep thinking. This varied collection features a richer, fuller guitar sound and songs about…

Read more ›

Dirtsong by The Black Arm Band Company

Reviewed by Paul Barr

This recording from the spectacular Black Arm Band production of Dirtsong, a 2009 restoration project for Indigenous dialects, features an outstanding array of indigenous singers and songwriters perf…

Read more ›

The Moment by Mia Dyson

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Three years ago award-winning blues based singer-songwriter and guitarist Mia Dyson departed our shores to further her career in the tough US market. Despite setbacks, Dyson has channelled her frustr…

Read more ›

Songs For Desert Refugees by Various

Reviewed by Paul Barr

This benefit CD features electric guitar-based music from the Southern Sahara/Northern Mali regions. All the right names are here: Tinariwen, Tamikrest, Tartit and newcomer Bombino, with unreleased m…

Read more ›

The Tel Aviv Session by The Toure-Raichel Collective

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Every now and again musicians who have never played before get together to have a musical conversation and create sound magic.

This is one of those very rare spontaneous collaborations that comes al…

Read more ›

Traveler by Jerry Douglas

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Jerry Douglas’s Dobro skills have made him the top player in Nashville. His distinctive tone has graced some 1800 sessions and been featured on the wonderful BBC series Transatlantic Sessions, fusing…

Read more ›

Into the Trees by Zoe Keating

Reviewed by Paul Barr

This is rapidly becoming a late night favourite at Readings Carlton, but where do you file it?

Classically trained cellist and northern California resident Zoe Keating toured here very recently and,…

Read more ›

The Sailor’s Revenge by Bap Kennedy

Reviewed by Paul Barr

Belfast singer-songwriter Kennedy has been around since the late 80s but has yet to achieve the success he deserves, although he comes highly recommended by the likes of Steve Earle and Van Morrison.…

Read more ›