Sam Barron – A Prayer For a Field Mouse
I like this. Barron sings about people most songwriters ignore. A Prayer For a Field Mouse (Drops Sept 10–Mother West/Crazy Jane) is 9-songs that explore lives with Sam’s distinctive voice surrounded by melancholy melodies that are sweet. “Tallahassee,” is a good opener. Sam’s voice while not gravelly like Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen, is attractive in a good alt-country singer style. Think Guy Clark crossed with Lyle Lovett.
The lyrics get his tales across with poignancy & the song arrangements are never over-bearing. His moderate ass-kicker “Interstate,” has a Bruce Springsteen touch though he never actually sounds like Bruce. A good song for still performing & recording NYC veteran Dion DiMucci to cover.
My good friend Pati deVries makes a cameo in Sam’s video of “Karaoke Queen,” & looks terrific. So, I have to be careful what I say about this one.
This song “Karaoke Queen,” has a novelty-like title but is in no way a novelty song. It’s actually beautiful. The video is wonderfully produced with excellent instrumentation. Accordion by Eva Mikhailnova who also appears on the mellow & delicious “San Pedro.”
The repertoire, fortunately, avoids folk trappings. Nothing’s preachy, political, or angry, very few headlines. They’re good stories with interesting characters with struggles. Lost souls in the city with clever words, guitar-picking & enthusiasm that provides a vivid picture. “Early Blue,” is an accessible song & “Instead Of,” is a bit mid-career Cat Stevens (aka Yusuf Islam) — a moving ballad with assertive lyrics & tight playing. A well-thought-out composition, sad, yet contemplative.
Of late, many CDs arrive with little or no imagination in CD cover art. I guess marketing isn’t a concern. Who signs off on this? Many CDs tell me nothing about what music to expect. Maybe it’s expensive to get original art or a photographer – but this is your product, right? Your baby? You go to the trouble of creating a set of expressive songs & the cover says what? Am I missing something?
There’s a great color image of NYC folk-singer Sam Barron. Why didn’t use this photo as his cover? He’s a good-looking guy, the pose is compelling, fits the music & get this: the songs on the CD are indeed quite good.
It seems Sam has a style of his own as he writes about characters of unlikely success: an itinerant “San Pedro” man who rides a bike with no brakes real slow, or the heart-broken person who smokes crack in “Tallahassee.”
The band: Sam (acoustic guitars) with Tim Curiano (drums), Byron Isaacs (bass), Jack McLoughlin (pedal & lap steel), & Charles Newman (producer/organ/theremin/percussion/electric guitar/marxophone).
The 29-minute CD: Available @ Barnes & Noble, Amazon + http://www.sambarron.com/