Helen Mitchell - FATEA UK:

World traveler and musical explorer Barry Walsh has done many things and made music with some extraordinary figures, but only now has he composed and recorded a solo instrumental album. The 11 original piano works on Walsh's new CD The Crossing are serene, airy and cyclical, but they have a gravity born of their inspiration in specific experiences. "The title is a metaphor for the changes that have happened in my life in the last three years," says Walsh. "A long-time marriage ended, and a new relationship began with a singer-songwriter I've known for many years." That would be Nashville artist Gretchen Peters, author of hits such as "Independence Day" and whose critically acclaimed recent CD Burnt Toast & Offerings investigated the birth of the new relationship with the candor and clarity of a poet. On The Crossing, Walsh offers his take on the story in the universal language of spare, elegant instrumental music, a telling that's more abstract but no less emotionally potent. The title track takes the long view on the journey he and Peters made together and toward each other with a suspenseful pulse in the high register and a breath of release and relief at the end. The delicate second cut "Leaving Newcastle" was named for a special place shared on tours in the UK. During a two-week separation, when Peters was in England and Walsh was home alone composing, he conceived the album's wistful "To See You Again." The CD closes with the Erik Satie influenced "The Steps Of The Parthenon," a reference to the Parthenon replica in Nashville, long a meeting place for local lovers. Walsh has been a professional musician for more than three decades, and in that time he's performed with Roy Orbison, Jimmy Webb and Al Green, and he's written songs that were recorded by Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter and the Amazing Rhythm Aces. Currently, in addition to touring extensively with Peters, Walsh plays keyboards for the recently revived Memphis rock and soul band The Box Tops, featuring Alex Chilton. The decision to step forward with a solo work after so many years of supporting others allows these many influences, as well as Walsh's many travels and life epiphanies to come together in a style he can claim as his own. The Crossing was recorded at Walsh's home on a Kimball Viennese Edition grand piano with touches of backing by cellist David Henry and guitarist Mark Selby. Walsh's Labrador Retriever Nigel lay motionless at the feet of Selby as he overdubbed on an as yet untitled song. It was duly named "Nigel's Blues" in his honor. The recording breathes with expansive, roomy warmth, and the music captures the bittersweet reverberations of adults changing course.

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