Like an indispensibly intuitive back scratcher or massage therapist, Joey Barro (The Antiques) knows how to find the pressure point, the itch in his listeners, and work it. As my sister would say, The Traditionist can really hunker down and mash on it.
He’s subtle, though. The Traditionist makes a pathway in with crafty folk-soaked tunes occasionally dashed with shoegaze, memorable hooks, and a voice like Neil Young. There’s no aping – Barro just can’t help sounding like Shakey.
Repetition is his thing. I’ve heard insanity defined as doing the same thing expecting different results. Barro’s hit on a good thing. His simple style, never tiresome, makes perfect sense. The Traditionist crows fresh, reflective sadness. And though gentle, Barro’s voice steadily penetrates, strong and clear.
This is an artist to keep regular listening appointments with. Download these rich, exclusive live studio tracks, also found on The Traditionist’s album, Season to Season.
Driftwood Doll sparks warm feelings of Uncle Tupelo. And while spaced-out keyboard effects trail the tune in tempered shoegazey fashion, rather than shooting out into the neverending cosmos, The Traditionist wraps up and says goodbye with a classy, self-referencing chord progression. No Self Portrait is the musical equivalent of a spaghetti western/horror flick. It’s dark, gloomy and haunting, dyed with rich guitar hues. Make Believe Tree conjures my memories of driving a beat-up Ford Pinto around town in high school to fetch an eclectic bunch of friends for Friday night partying. The song enters with a hearty African Congo beat, soon to be joined by easy guitar and a space odyssey on keyboard. Next, the stoner jumps in with vocals. There’s no competition – only friendly contribution from each personality, melding into a tune both exuberant and chill. Only Nightmares glows like the wonder years in an uptempo boyish story of the pains of love and losing it. Satchel Paige is an awesomely frisky biographical tune about the American baseball legend, a guy who still tore it up from the mound beyond age 60. So delightful, I admit I listened a few times in a row.
Driftwood Doll [mp3]
Make Believe Tree [mp3]
Satchel Paige [mp3]
Shallow Winter’s Moon [mp3]
The Traditionist on Myspace