Monday, November 13, 2006

Jamie Barnes

The Recalibrated Heart
(Pink Bullet Recordings)

In this city of hundreds of thousands of people, there are only a handful of troubadours. Like most cities, many of our few are loud, brutish and lacking in skill. Jamie Barnes sticks out for the grace and beauty he is able to draw on to seduce an audience.
In his third album, Barnes sticks to his established practice of recording himself at home, performing most of the instruments himself. Though he shares this practice with Stevie Wonder, the similarity ends there. Musically, he has more in common with Sufjan Stevens, another indie folk singer-songwriter whose angelic voice owes its inspiration to a kind, loving religious grounding.

Barnes performs with confidence, seamlessly melding etheral harmonies and folk guitars with more offbeat percussion instruments. Barnes address religious stories and characters more directly than ever before, a move that should further help set him apart from his peers, hopefully without alienating any of his early fans. His songs of angels and devils, Heaven and Hell, have more in common with Johnny Cash than Jimmy Swaggart. And if you forget where else he came from, there's even a song about R.E.M. (which, itself, is more about love, family and the value of life).

c. 2006 LEO Weekly

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