Archive for the ‘The Barr Brothers’ Category

The Barr Brothers played Beggar In The Morning from their 2011 self-titled debut album on the Letterman Show last night. These guys never fail to impress me.


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The end of the year marks a great opportunity for reflection. For a music enthusiast, it’s a perfect excuse to make a list of my top albums and songs of the year. This was relatively challenging for me. I tend to think and live very much in the moment. I get swept up in what’s going on around me right now. And for this exercise I had to abandon, for a second, what was playing in the moment, and reflect on what had been playing over the course of the past 12 months. I am not sure I entirely succeeded. But, alas, below I present to you my top 20 songs and top 11 albums of 2011!

Top 20 Songs of 2011

20. Long Days, Fast Years by Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers

19. Someone Like You by Adele

18. Another by The White Album

17. Kiss Quick by Matt Nathanson

16. If I Wanted Someone by Dawes

15. Eagle’s Nest by Caroline Smith & The Good Night Sleeps

14. Café Lights by Hey Marseilles

13. Everything (Overture) by Chris Bathgate

12. Anyhow… by Tyler Lyle

11. The Nature of Our Kind by Vandaveer

10. We Will All Be Changed by Seryn

9. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

8. Down In The Valley by The Head and the Heart

7. Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars

6. New York by Blind Pilot

5. Old Pine by Ben Howard

4. Blackout by Pickwick

3. 1957 by Milo Greene

2. Beggar In The Morning by The Barr Brothers

1. Honey Jars by Bryan John Appleby


Top 11 Albums

11. Gift Horse by Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers

10. 21 by Adele

9. Ashes and Fire by Ryan Adams

8. Dig Down Deep by Vandaveer

7. The Golden Age & The Silver Girl by Tyler Lyle

6. The Barr Brothers by The Barr Brothers

5. Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars

4. Fire On The Vine by Bryan John Appleby

3. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

2. The Head and The Heart by The Head and The Heart

1. We Are The Tide by Blind Pilot

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When a pony runs out of tricks, then his work has just begun

When I first discovered The Barr Brothers in early October, I purchased their debut self-titled album and immediately got stuck on Beggar In The Morning. The song captivated me, its “quiet meditation.” But my fascination with Beggar In The Morning caused me to overlook the remainder of this quartet’s fantastic debut album. It was only when KEXP released their live video of the Barr Brothers, two months later, that I finally returned to the album.

The Barr Brothers is marked by complex, unique instrumentation, unsurprising for a band that merges a classically trained harpist, pump organist, and two (former) jam-band brothers. The result is a distinct blend of Brad’s soft, ethereal vocals and folk, jazz and rock influences. The album is dynamic and plays to the diverse strengths of its members. Give The Devil Back His Heart’s bluesy rock reminds listeners of the Barr boys’ former jam-band and highlights guitarist Brad Barr. But the band then easily shift gears into harp, acoustic guitar fingerpicking and pump-organ folk on Old Mythologies.

Below are live videos of my four favorite songs from the record. The group is currently on tour and I will have the distinct pleasure of seeing them play at Joe’s Pub next Wednesday.

Old Mythologies

Give The Devil Back His Heart

Sarah Through The Wall


Beggar In The Morning


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This is the first installment of a weekly collection of the “latest and greatest.” I will post two newly discovered songs that have captured my attention and two of my longtime favorite songs that are building up dust in my music library.


In the last several months, I have been inundated with music, thanks to some new friends and an expansion of my blog-roll (see the “Necessary Bookmarks” for my favorites).

To Travels and Trunks by Hey Marseilles

Hey Marseilles, a seven-piece folk-pop band from Seattle, have made quite an impression on me. They have a rich sound, which is supported by a surplus of instruments: cello, viola, accordion, trumpet, snare drum, cymbal, tambourine, and acoustic guitars. A friend of mine introduced me to Rio, when he featured a beautiful solo, acoustic version on his blog. But when I got my hands on the album shortly thereafter and took it for a spin, To Travels and Trunks was the number that really spoke to me. Matt Bishop’s voice blends perfectly against the grand instrumental backdrop of the cello, violin and accordion; in this song, Bishop is my ideal reincarnation of Ben Gibbard. Not to mention, my heart melts when he sings out: “All I want is love eternally / with your heart facing me.”

The best description of Hey Marseilles that I’ve read came from their own Facebook page: “It’s modern vintage, a folk-pop jam session at a vanished cabaret on the Seine, an indie rocker’s fantasy of his grandparents’ first kiss.”

Beggar In The Morning by The Barr Brothers

The Barr Brothers, a Montreal-based band centered around brothers Andrew and Brad Barr, just released their self-titled debut album. Beggar In The Morning is the song I keep coming back to and playing on repeat. It is beautiful. I have a feeling I’ll be writing much more about these guys in blogs to come.

“Oh I want an angel to wipe my tears / I want my dreams, my hopes, desires and fears / We may capsize but we wont drown / Hold each other as the sun goes down.”

Check out this very cool video of the song.


The Chain by Fleetwood Mac

When I was first learning how to play the guitar I was fascinated by fingerpicking. I learned Blackbird by The Beatles and drove my parents crazy by sitting in my room playing it at every chance I got. Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain, the album’s most complicated compositions, blends Lindsey Buckingham’s fingerpicking with the electric guitar, creating a distinctive guitar/banjo sound. I particularly love that it is the only track that all members of the band collaborated on. Stolen from my mom’s music collection, The Chain remains one of the most influential songs in my library.

Cecilia by Simon & Garfunkel

Sometimes I wish I was born in an earlier decade, just so that I could have heard Simon & Garfunkel perform Cecilia at their prime as a folk duo. I imagine the room filled to its brim with energy, harmonies bouncing off the walls, the percussion shaking the floors and a musical enlightenment for those lucky enough to be a part of the magic. In honor of my first “latest and greatest” blog post, Simon & Garfunkel’s masterpiece Cecilia from their 1970 album Bridge Over Troubled Water takes the cake for the greatest song in my collection.

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