Cleopatra (label)

19 October 2018 (released)

30 October 2018

You might expect the lead guitarist with Jethro Tull from 1969-2012 to have a distinctly ‘Tull’ sound to his solo recordings and there is a definite undercurrent of folk against the rock elements of Mr Barre’s latest release.
But there is a very original flavour to the music as well and of his seven solo albums I would say this is his strongest.

Of course, there is a great amount of guitar in the mix and bloody fine guitar it is too but the album covers a great deal more than endless riffing and solos - this is Prog of a very high standard and the songs are intensely listenable to.

The heart of this album is its songs, even more than the playing and I found it refreshing to hear an artist who has developed so much in a few years (he has only been writing solo materials for a few years).

Musically he seems happy to cross genres with studied abandon. The opener ‘Lone Wolf’ has a distinct folk/medieval base moving into a strong riff and chorus while the title track has a Prog feel but sets aside that a really melodic core.
One of my favourites is the hard rocker ‘(This Is) My Driving Song’ where the rock is undercut by a mandolin – described by Barre as “… the freedom that comes with travel and being in a car stereo life”.

The lovely ‘You Are An Angel’ softens the tone with a superb vocal from Alex Hart and about a Syrian nurse just carrying on looking after her children while all around her is filled with violence and danger.

The subject matter of his songs is clearly personal but he writes well enough that the stories and the feelings are carried in his words and playing.