When you’ve been a part of Jethro Tull for so long, anything you put out as a solo offering is inevitably going to be compared with the group’s vast catalogue (and probably listeners will be secretly hoping it matches the best).
Label: Cleopatra Records
Time: 11 tracks
Even though he says that this release “reflects my belief in taking music somewhere new,” there is no doubting, as soon as it starts, that Barre is the man playing guitar. It still has his trademark sound and riff style – which will probably suit most fans.
Other than the lack of singer Ian Anderson, several of these could have come from the band’s later years. Main singer Dan Crisp has an engaging voice and handles vocals well.
For me, along with “Seattle,” the enjoyable “I’m On My Way” is the highlight. Not only does it have a great hook and a really complete feel as a song, but Barre even gets Paul Kossoff-like tones to his licks and puts a little mandolin in there, too.
That mandolin, sprinkled over several tracks, brings in the feel of those rural Tull albums. “Trinity,” a solo, largely-acoustic Barre instrumental, echoes them a little, too (although it can feel in places like some incomplete song ideas stitched together – maybe the title backs that up).
Becca Langsford sings lead on a few tracks. Her voice suits the quieter ones best, and “You are an Angel” has real beauty for the short time it plays. “Badcore Blues” is a decent piece, with Barre playing slide and an inventive percussion track.
It may be a personal quibble, but that track also shows that Barre’s riffs include a lot of “call-and-response” with himself, which can make them sound a little contrived or formulaic. Otherwise, this is a solid album. While it is unlikely to win Barre new followers, it grows with successive plays and there is ample here for Tull aficionados to enjoy.