Stories To Tell
Raxor & Tie, 2012
REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/26/2012
Dave Barnes sure has come a long way since his days of playing drums and considering writing songs for other artists. Picking up guitar and furthering his songwriting in college, Barnes penned his first EP right out of college, using Internet promotion to create a significant buzz. Picking up new fans with each subsequent release, Barnes climbed his way up the Billboard Charts and even used his notoriety to branch off onto a stand up comedy stint and as an actor on a soap opera. He also recently saw a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song for “God Gave Me You” (performed by Blake Shelton).
Barnes’ fourth album for indie giant Razor & Tie, Stories To Tell, has him challenging himself and switching gears with his standard recording habits by laying this down in Los Angeles rather than Nashville. While it still retains the memorable and timeless guitar driven pop-rock that Barnes is so well known for, he injects programming and synth-work here, adding an entirely new dynamic to his singer-songwriter foundation. As always his soulful voice is flawless, his wordplay is often uplifting, choosing to embrace the beauty in life rather than dwell on the disappointments, and in songs like “White Flag” and “Heaven Help Me,” he even relays some autobiographical moments about his impending fatherhood
A truly flourishing artist who has successfully ventured into rock, blues, country, soul and R&B, Barnes has released perhaps his most universally appealing endeavor yet with Stories To Tell, from hook filled rock ‘n’ roll, to acoustic playfulness, orchestral nods and even a smattering of electronic fun. Possessing an ability to pen introspective songs that articulately apply to anyone with a thoughtful mind, his sound is both youthful and sophisticated, his songcraft transcending all generations and cultures. It’s nice to see an artist with an already established niche willing to tread new ground, the result here being a career highpoint.