Dave Barrett - Stockton Ave
According to the Bandcamp page for Dave Barrett he didn’t know if he was ever going to record again. During the pandemic a number of things aligned and Barrett found himself working on new songs and would eventually release Stockton Ave.
Stockton Ave contains fourteen songs and is a fully realized album. Barrett did get some help along the way. The band consists of Chris Starke (drums), Tad Santos (bass), Paul Stebner (guitar), Christa Cummins (vocals), Patrick Whalen (trumpet/flugelhorn/melodica), Jennifer Jennings (vocals), Justin LeBreck (keys), and Tony John (mandolin).
The music feels very much based in Americana music. I was reminded of Bruce Springsteen, Steve Miller band and other like-minded artists and bands. The album starts with “Dance With Me” which is definitely a song that should make you dance. This is a fun one that is easy to sing along with. I loved the grooves and spirit of this song. Barrett sounds good and happy to be there.
We back off from the celebratory mood of the opener to something more reflective but still positive with the title track “Stockton Ave.” The vocal melodies are there and the horns sound fantastic. There are some impressive dynamic peaks in this song. The band sounds incredible at points such as the two-minute mark.
Barrett has the kind of baritone voice that sounds great with some melancholy. “In The House That Is Empty” is perhaps the dark horse of the album. It’s cerebral, warm and those distant guitar sounds work wonders to give it a cosmic quality.
Barrett sounds equally as good on “Turn Around” which has some spoken word on the verse. It revolves around piano, what sounds like xylophone and other tender and warm elements. “Touch and Go” feels a dose of hope in the form of music while “Dance On The Sidewalk” is another song that has dance in the title which lives up to its name.
“Simpleton Galore” is a big one. It’s full of instruments and is just epic in scale. Barrett continues to pour out the goods with a mix of emotions. “October Skies” and “Don't Come Free In The End” were solid songs but “Come Around” is motivational. Barrett sings “We all have a moment / Something we wouldn’t change / Yes, this is my big moment / Something you live over again and again.”
“Lonely In The Night” and “Remedy” bring the Americana flavor once again with perhaps more of ’90s alternative flavor. The most somber song is “What Love Can Do” which is quite beautiful. The orchestral strings sound great. “Heroes Of Our Day” is the closer and Barrett plays to his strengths with this song.
Barrett is a talented songwriter and this album proves it. The album was cohesive and I found the songs to be consistently well delivered. Recommended.
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