Sally Barris

WILDER GIRL

Self-Released

****1/2

Talented vocalist Sally Barris’ latest self-penned set is comprised of beautiful contemporary folk-country music

 

Nashville-based songwriter Sally Barris, with cuts by Lee Ann Womack, Kathy Mattea, Martina McBride and Kate McKenzie to her credit, delivers another excellent collection of well-written tunes. The songs on this album centre around overcoming life’s obstacles and relationship issues and learning to relax instead of feeling overwhelmed. She interprets, tenderly, some powerfully emotional songs with soft acoustic and rhythm arrangements complementing the ballad overtones. Let The Wind Chase You, co-written with Karyn Rochelle is one of the most heartbreaking break-up songs I’ve heard in long time. Ethereal steel guitar lines, heavenly harmony vocal by Ben Kyle and a great sensitive lead vocal makes for an understated gem. Kyle provides the one song that Sally didn’t pen, the captivating Fiona, an awesome story ballad with great harmony by Kyle and Jeff Taylor on mournful accordion.

The title song is a highly personal song about the wish for Sally to step out of her somewhat timid, quiet persona and be a little more out-going if it will snare her loved one. There’s a slight, rhythmic bluegrass feel to Sinful Thoughts, a co-write with Jessi Alexander with subtle banjo and harmonies by Brandon Sampson. Jessi is also the co-writer on the jaunty You And I Could Never Be Friends, with Dana Cooper adding distinctive harmonies and an inspired acoustic arrangement utilising banjo, Dobro and acoustic guitars. Standing Still is a song that Sally included on her RELUCTANT DAUGHTER album, this is a more polished, subtle version of a song that must surely one day be picked up and turned into a huge hit. The piano lines provided by Jeff Taylor blend perfectly with the acoustic guitar. The album closes with the semi-autobiographical Angel Of The North the personalised lyrics and sentimental mood of music serving to enhance her performance. A quietly absorbing album full of subtle musical embellishments, thought-provoking and sensitive lyrical moments and emotional, honest vocal work that continually pierces the heart and soul in equal measures. Alan Cackett

Sally Barris
Restless Soul

Wrensong 42205-5
****1/2 Alan Cackett Maverick Magazine UK
Songwriter poised to make the breakthrough to international recognition as a major recording artist
Like Nanci Griffith, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mindy Smith and Allison Moorer, Sally Barris doesn’t easily fit into the country genre, but is one of the most talented writers currently working in Nashville. Over the past few years she’s had cuts by Martina McBride, Lee Ann Womack, Kathy Mattea, Jessi Alexandra, Kate MacKenzie and more recently Trisha Yearwood. RESTLESS SOUL is Sally’s third album and leaves her first two CDs in the dust. It sounds somewhat more mainstream than its predecessors, but a lot of that has to do with how eclectic it is and also how much of a better recording it is. The sound quality is as good as it gets. The vocals are clear and the guitars are rich sounding. The mix is perfect.
Sally wrote all eleven songs, some with such Music Row stalwarts as Mark Sanders, Liz Rose, Jon Randall, Jessi Alexander and Cory Mayo, but mainly by herself. A lot of work was put into the making of this album and there is not one throwaway song here. The title track is a great slow ballad. There is really nice guitar pickin’, and Sally’s vocals are really in touch with the mood of the song. There is a guitar riff that does a lot for this song, great musical hook with on-the-mark harmonies by Michael Kelsh. Tears of Joy is rooted in traditional bluegrass but also nods to country, then there’s the wry break-up song, Being Gone, while Huntington River is an awesome story ballad with great harmony by Jon Randall and Stuart Duncan on mournful fiddle. Duncan’s fiddle is to the fore on My Love Loves The Ocean, an intriguing ballad rooted in traditional British folk music. Last Drink Of Wine has some nice acoustic guitar, a really rich sounding track with inventive percussion and great accordion courtesy of Jeff Taylor. This has an enticing melody, and Sally’s vocals just pull you in.
If you’re a fan of the likes of Kathy Mattea, Mindy Smith, Lee Ann Womack or Alison Krauss, then you need to rush out and buy RESTLESS SOUL. Throughout Sally Barris is singing with a natural timbre and great confidence. The whole album has a very high quality vibe with country, folk, bluegrass, Celtic and Americana influences. Ms Barris has really grown in her vocals and her approach to her music. This is going to be a hard CD to top. AC

Sally Barris Restless Soul Review
Wrensong 42205-5
Sally Barris is an A-list Nashville songwriter who has been covered by such top-level artists as Kathy Mattea, Martina McBride, and Lee Ann Womack. The Minnesota native often creates her songs out of her deep immersion in the folk idiom, and she’s found a ready acceptance in the United Kingdom as a performer of the more folk-influenced side of her work. In recent years there's been a bit of a give and take, with Celtic and English folk music influences turning up in Barris' songwriting, and that’s a bridge she's taken advantage of in her latest recording. No one would mistake Barris for the British folk artist to whom she’s most often compared, Kate Rusby; Barris writes in her own way and out of her own experience. In both melody and story style, though, it's clear she’s been absorbing the lessons she learned playing and listening across the pond. "Huntington River" is a ballad of love and loss that could be an age-old song on either side of the Atlantic, but is, as are all the 11 songs, one that Barris wrote or on which she collaborated. There's almost a story in the sequence of the songs, moving from ideas about loss, change, and leaving, to the restless soul of the title wandering the world and looking for home. She finds it, in place and in relationship, and celebrates it all, as the closing song's title suggests, with "Tears of Joy."
It's a good journey. Barris knows how to write lyrics that are as forthright as a stream of clear water and how to support them with melodies that share that quality. She sings in a light, expressive soprano that is reminiscent of Claire Lynch and Aoife O'Donovan. For this trip into connecting Celtic and Americana sounds, she's invited along musicians who know how to do that in an understated way. They include fiddlers Stuart Duncan and Andrea Zonn; Jon Randall, who plays guitar and adds harmonies; and Byron House on bass. 
— Kerry Dexter (Tallahassee, FL) © 2008 Visionation, Ltd. Used by permission. Dirty Linen

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