Kevin Barker 

You & Me

Ah, the perils of being a devoted culture-vulture — one absorbs so much (too much?) and ends up jaded. (Example: So many people are going batty over Avatar like it's reinvented the sci-fi genre, but this writer saw a beautiful but predictable retread of Dances With Wolves — but how many multiplex-moviegoers saw the latter?) Take Kevin Barker, guitarist for the fine alt-folk combo Vetiver. This, his debut solo platter, is a nice Americana/country-rock set somewhat recalling the Grateful Dead in its semi-unplugged, homespun, Workingman's Dead mode. Barker's and main-Dead-man Jerry Garcia's voices share that plaintive quality and their respective techniques on the six-strings also share some characteristics. But, the odd thing is, many a Haight Street hipster wouldn't extinguish via their urine your typical Deadhead if s/he were ablaze.

Comparing You & Me to the Dead's chilled-out California country/folk approach isn't meant as a negative criticism — it might be simple coincidence that they share common ground. Barker's fingerpicking on the acoustic axe is quite excellent (especially on "My Lady") and his songs have a sweet (though not syrupy), comfortingly downy tone to them. His songs are long enough to feature some dandy instrumental dexterity but not so long as to be self-indulgent or meandering. And yes, the influence of Fairport Convention and their British folk-rock ilk is felt as well ("I Will Fly").

Perhaps because of the high quality of mothership Vetiver, this writer was maybe expecting something ... different, perhaps more of a departure from what they do. But not compared to Vetiver (or the Dead), You & Me stands as a gratifying listen. (Gnomonsong)


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in CD Reviews

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

Taste, Fall 2017

Fall Arts 2017

Our Picks for the Best Events of the Fall Arts Season

© 2017 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation