Second Review of "THE CROSSING":

Artist:Barry Walsh Album:The Crossing Website: Barry 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 singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters (over ten UK tours since 2001), Walsh plays keyboards for the recently revived Memphis rock and soul band The Box Tops, featuring Alex Chilton. 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. I have to confess to being one of those people who never really 'got' music without lyrics. However, maybe as a result having been mesmerized so many times watching him play with Gretchen, I was eagerly anticipating the release of this album. On first listen, what was immediately obvious was the emotion that had gone into these beautiful pieces of music. Even before reading about the album, it is apparent that each one came from a personal place, be it experience of affinity. The latter is true of 'Je Te Veux.' Barry comments of the track, "This is an Erik Satie (the French composer) piece, and the only song I didn't write on the CD. I have been playing Satie's music for 40 years." That, therefore leads us to the rest of the album, Walsh's own compositions. The Title song, 'The Crossing,' a metaphor for the changes in two lives over a period of time, one of which was his own. Angel of Repose' was the title of one of his favorite books, by Wallace Stegner and 'Years May Go By' was inspired by a line in a Rikki Lee Jones song. The obvious love for England which has grown over his years of playing here is evidenced in the fact that two songs on the album refer to UK cities; the haunting 'Leaving Newcastle' and 'Exeter Cathedral', the melody of which remains with you long after the final piano chord is played. Barry Walsh truly is one of the most remarkable and intuitive musicians I have ever had the pleasure to watch and he has created his own piece of magic in his first CD release. I am hoping that when he tours here with Gretchen this year we may be given the opportunity to hear even just one of these tracks performed live - maybe 'Leaving Newcastle' in the city which it honours. In the meanwhile this Cd will continue to have heavy rotation on my CD player and I only hope there are more where this came from. Apparently I do 'get' music without lyrics after all.

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