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Barr Brothers “Sleeping Operator” shines

I first saw The Barr Brothers at a Eugene show where they opened for Austin, Texas rock-blues musician Shakey Graves. Playing a short but impressive setlist spotlighting tracks from their “Sleeping Operator” release and their new EP, their easygoing, highly capable musicianship left fans wanting more – and an indelible impression on this reviewer.

Purchasing their most recent full-length album seemed mandatory.

As it turns out, “Operator,” recorded and mixed by Ryan Freeland (Bonnie Raitt, Ray LaMontagne, Aimee Mann) in Montreal and Los Angeles, is an enjoyable, highly impressive 13-track folk-rock and blues journey.

The swift, mysterious “Static Orphans” opener is a stunning dreamscape, blending lyrical harp notes with banjo, bells and hand-clapping.

This brief, creative introduction morphs into “Love Ain’t Enough,”  a mesmerizing mix of guitar, xylophone, and sparse, tasteful drums. On this track and throughout the album, musician and singer Brad Barr offers up convivial vocals while the band rallies around great chord changes, a talented harpist and winning arrangements.

“Come in the Water” covers us with luscious John Lennon-ish passages, while slide and acoustic guitar highlights, and the Barr’s romantic, impressionable vocals on “Even the Darkness Has Arms” is the stuff of music with staying power.

Have a listen:

Even the Darkness Has Arms

About the Barr Brothers

The Barr Brothers are: Brad Barr, guitar, vocals; Andrew Barr, vocals, keyboards, percussion, drums; Sarah Page, harp, vocals, percussion; and Andres Vial, keyboards, vocals, bass, percussion. In 2012 they performed on The Late Show with David Letterman and the band was warmly embraced at last year’s Happy Valley Picathon.

Based in Montreal, they released “Alta Falls,” a new EP, in April.

We’re not sure what the song’s about – but it feels good; prepare yourself to enjoy the warm, reassuring notes of “Wolves.” Glowing vibes on the harmonies are nigh irresistible.

Engaging and diverse, the band’s light and playful “The Bear at the Window” culminates in a fun rock jam.

The fierce bottleneck on their “Half Crazy” is rural rootsy blues at its finest – check it out:

Half Crazy

On Tour: Upcoming Barr Brothers tour dates include Quincy, CA; Quebec, Canada; Newport, RI; and Edmonton, Canada.

Catch them live, and be instantly converted.


You can follow The Barr Brothers on Twitter, and find their music on their website or on iTunes.

Cynthia Orlando
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