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Martin Barre - Stage Left
Fuel 2000
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
2003-08-07
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Artist: Martin Barre (www.martinbarre.com)
Title: Stage Left
Label: Fuel 2000 (www.fuel2000.com)
Genre: Rock/Instrumental, Progressive, Blues, Fusion

When you hear the name Martin Barre, you instantly connect him with the band he has been with over 30 years, Jethro Tull. While his accomplishments with that band are legendary, his performance as a solo artist has not reached those lofty heights, although I see no reason why it has not after listening to his latest effort. The appropriate recognition will surely come on this release. It literally screams to you…pay attention and listen up!

On his third solo effort Stage Left, the * first solo album released in the U.S., Barre adds more unmistakably proof and furthers his legacy as an accomplished guitar maestro. Whilst doing all of that, he shows the world that he can play other instruments with enormous efficiency as well. He plays the mandolin, bouzouki, and the flute of all things! It seems too ironic as his band mate Ian Anderson is the acknowledged master of the flute in a rock setting. An interesting tidbit of information is that Barre actually played the flute before he ever met Anderson. Reading about the background of the artist and this release gave me much more appreciation for all the aspects of the project. I highly recommend visiting Martin's website to learn as much as you can before listening to the CD.

I knew right from the get go that this album was something special, so to be sure I did not miss a thing, I listened to it at least 5 times. I recommend several listens to you as well; you will need that kind of concentrated listening experience before you really appreciate what Barre has accomplished on this album.

What an incredibly diverse and powerful musical statement from the vaunted guitarist this is. To be fair and honest, every song kicks major ass and I just cannot seem to single out any one tune to discuss. What I can tell you is that every aspect of this man's repertoire as a musician reaches its fulfillment in each of these songs. The blending of acoustic and electric stringed instruments is bewitching on every track. He jumps from exquisite picking on his acoustic to commanding and tasteful power chords on the electric axe all in the same song. All the tracks are instrumental except "Don't Say A Word." He is not a bad vocalist either, which actually came as a surprise to me. In a twist of irony and a play on words, that track fittingly ends the album.

There is a fusion of blues, rock, progressive and medieval influences that all play their part poignantly in making this a changeable platter of palatable musical pleasure. I think progressive is the best terminology to use while explaining what Martin has expertly molded and shaped on this CD. This album may be one of the very best six-string oriented recordings you pick up this year so do not miss it.

* The other titles are Trick of Memory (1994) and The Meeting (1996). Stage Leftwill be released in the U.S. August 12th.

1. Count The Chickens - 2:38
2. As Told By – 3:28
3. A French Connection – 4;34
4. Murphy's Law – 3:48
5. My Favourite Things – 4:33
6. After You After Me - 4:33
7. D. I. Y. – 1:52
8. Spanish Tears – 4:30
9. Stage Fright – 4:30
10. Winter Snowscape – 4:44
11. Nelly Returns – 3:38
12. Celestial Servings – 2:54
13. I Raise My Glass To You – 2:04
14. Don't Say A Word – 4:07

The Lineup:
Martin Barre - Guitars, Mandolin, Bouzouki, Flute
Jonathan Noyce - Bass Guitar
Darrin Mooney - Drums
Andrew Giddings - Keyboards
Simon Burrett - Vocals


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