|09-25-2008, 06:40 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2008
"Big Bang Theory" by Shaun Barrowes
Shaun Barrowes’s Big Bang Theory is an absolute delight – for your ears, your frame of mind, your appreciation for what’s right in today’s music.
The setting might be familiar – emerging young singer, some jazz, some pop, a piano – but with a difference. Instead of going down the often-visited road of re-interpreting the standards, Barrowes has recorded an album made up totally of original songs. And what songs they are: quite unlike many recordings in this era of throwaway music, where too many albums are hastily slapped together around a would-be hit single or two, themselves completely disposable, there is not one bit of filler here. The numbers run from heartbreakingly beautiful ballads (“I Love You Today,” “In My Back Pocket,” “I Still Loved You”), to sweet Ray Charles-tinged soul (“When I Need You the Most”), to easy, breezy jazz stylings (“Separate Trains,” “Like There’s No More Love to Go Around”), to jazzy rock (“Fade”), to jaunty Caribbean-flavored pop (“Never for My Sake”), each a little gem. These are mature, fully-realized songs: not the familiar standards; still, they sound like you’ve known them for years. While clearly giving a nod to the proud tradition of Tin Pan Alley, Barrowes has crafted a record that is still fresh, new, and exciting. (Note also that Barrowes wrote all the arrangements.)
Barrowes’s performances of the songs must also be mentioned: he is a notably comfortable, confident singer with a smooth, pleasing voice and terrific singing technique, and an impressive pianist equally skilled at the delicate touch of the ballads abd the swing of the jazz numbers. But what really gets to me most is how genuine these recordings sound, how heartfelt, how “UN-tinkered-with.” They sound like live recordings - and that’s saying something. Barrowes is singing and playing straight from his soul, and that gets right down deep into this listener’s soul. I can only imagine what a joy it must be to see him perform live. Until then, there is this wonderful record to enjoy. I know I'm looking forward to many years of watching this terrific new singer / songwriter's career flourish, and to many more years of fantastic new music - in fact, I haven't been this excited about a new singer since discovering the music of Jamie Cullum a few years ago. Shaun Barrows has arrived, and we reap the benefits. I couldn’t recommend this record any more enthusiastically.