Barrett Davis – The Ballad of Aesop Fin
This is about as close to mud & sticks Americana as one can get. Superb fingerpicking that sparkles in the opening song. Barrett Davis has an interesting (acoustic & electric guitar) presentation with a confident sound that is comfortable on a back porch, a festival, picnic, tent show, flatbed trailer, or church social. He may not be a Bruce Springsteen but I’m sure Springsteen would enjoy playing these types of songs again.
Davis has a friendly, inspired delivery, part John Denver, part John Stewart & John Prine. He doesn’t just sing the songs he embodies them. None of these are ever sticky-sweet. There are lots of raindrop banjo notes falling all around your ears & you easily get soaked in the plaintive melodies.
Barrett doesn’t always sing his songs as if he were just a back porch picker. There are well-imagined words in picturesque originals. Not so much country as earthiness in his storytelling. The voice is not captivating, but it’s perfectly suited to the kind of music being shaped. Davis would have performed well with bands like New Riders of the Purple Sage, the James Gang, or Poco & any number of progressive-country bands that weren’t afraid to let loose with instruments & tales. Davis certainly unloads with fiery arrangements with this tightly woven band & it’s exciting.
The 8-cut was produced by Aaron Aiken (mandolin/electric guitar). The Ballad of Aesop Fin (Drops Oct 7–Moon Eyed Records) is a gumbo of bluegrass, folk & mountain music exemplified beyond being mere music but communication with the wood in the instruments & the soul within the singer. What a marriage – it’s clearly on the excellent “Bama Shores,” which is the most accessible & driven.
North Carolina’s Barrett Davis has style, ear-caressing sincerity in his music & an arresting voice in many of these well-crafted songs.
Performers – Woody Platt (vocals on “Quiver”), JT Linville (double bass), Derrick Gardner (piano/organ), Owen grooms (banjo/electric banjo), Jackson Dulaney (dobro/pedal steel/lap steel), Ryan Sargent (percussion/drums), Noah Gardner (fiddle/cello) & Johanna Davis (vocals).
Highlights – “Carolina Still,” “Quiver,” “Bama Shores,” & “Your Worth.”
B&W image courtesy of Barrett’s Facebook. CD @ https://www.barrettdavismusic.com/