Posts Tagged ‘Barry Walker Jr.’

Favorite Albums of 2020

Here’s the year end list. I’m not gonna wax on about how this year was rough, we all know it was a shit year and even more so for artists. It was, however, a great year for recorded music, and I had a hard time not making this list about twice as long to show love for all the albums that lifted me this year. I’ve long been against the whole idea of numbered lists, so once again things are presented in quasi-alphabetical style (I always mess one or two up in creating this, but you get the point). I’ve included Bandcamp embeds where they exist, so if you have the means and find something new, please reach out and support the artists here. Looking forward to 2021 as another year that music makes getting through easier.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Barry Walker Jr.

With his stamp already on one of the years best LPs (contributing to North Americans stunning new record) Portland pedal steel player Barry Walker Jr aims for ambient country infamy with Shoulda Zenith. While it occupies some of the same space as his work with Patrick McDermott, the air that Walker is treading here is something more spectral and dangerous than he’s found himself embroiled in previously. HIs last album was another gem, occupying space on Driftless just like North Americans’ previous LP as well. Yet here, he dives deeper into the notion of pedal steel as an instrument and what it can accomplish when torn from its tethers as merely a paintbrush of sadness and ennui in the country canon. On Shoulda Zenith Walker still lets his instrument cry the lonesome cry that can be expected from his steel, but he distorts the the picture over these nine tracks, pushing the instrument to the front of the stage and then letting it growl, pant, breakdown, and blossom.

Now I’m not usually one to quote out the official rhetoric, but Holy Mountain pulling in a cross-section from experimental psych Texans and Japanese Out Rock, is extraordinarily apt. Walker’s finding the friction in country but also the longstanding pain and relief, especially with songs like the title track, which finds the familiar tones of the pedal steel thrown into the froth of feedback, crashing against the urge for calm. Walker riles and relents. For as often as the record strives to chafe, to dismantle the notions of staid lament that the instrument and country provide, he provides just as many opportunities for lightness and tender resolve. “Trinity Payload” knocks the listener into the sea wall of noise, but Walker’s there to scoop up the wreckage of the soul and nurse it back to health with a mournful moment. To cap it, he winds the record down with an old-soul country number that proves how deep his understanding of what he’s dismantling goes — a classic take that lets the album slide into the sunset scarred but not broken.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Barry Walker Jr. – “Up the Fan, Into the Keyhole”

Already populating one of 2020’s highly anticipated releases, the just announced North Americans record for Third Man, pedal steel player Barry Walker Jr. is helming his own follow-up to 2018’s excellent Diaspora Urkontinent as well. Like his compatriot McDermott, Walker is expanding the boundaries of his genre in all directions, trading the American Primitive of North Americans for a brand of psychedelic country that’s more indebted to Göttsching and Fripp than it its to the traditional straits of Cosmic Country or even the pedal steel virtuosity of Herb Remington. While his last album might have sat nicely alongside Luke Schneider’s latest (also for Third Man), this is no solo saunter. Walker bends the lonesome tears of his instrument through the black rainbow, but he brings along a shuffling back section as well, tumbling the first inklings of the record through a brokedown valley that’s littered with rusted arcticture that’s either junkyard or sculpture garden. Its up to the listener to parse it out against the squint of the low-hung sun. This marks a welcome return to the game for Holy Mountain Records, who’ve long been a favorite of RSTB. Glad to have ‘em back. The record is out October 30th.





Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments