After 30 years, Nigel Barker is back as Cowboy Hat and that Fuzzbox Voodoo prepare to release their full-length debut, A History of the American West and Other Stories. The album, a masterfully told tale of the legends and lies that make up American history, was written and produced by Barker. The album has been described as 'Defiantly Unique, Timeless, Cinematic, Filled with Soulful Authenticity.
Songs range from the old school Country of "I Love The South", to the simple acoustic lament of "The Cherokee Trail of Tears", the epic "Custer" and the cautiously optimistic ", America.
Barker has been in and out of the music industry for 35 years. At 19 he got his first record deal and became a recording engineer, working for artists such as Elton John, Japan and Tears For Fears. But Barker lost the use of his left hand after a near-fatal car accident in Montserrat in 1981. Unable to play, he found at 23 his musical career was over.
In the intervening years he pursued a successful career as screenwriter and director but it didn't fill the hole that music provided until, after 14 years of riding a Harley Davidson with a heavy clutch, Barker noticed some feeling and movement returning to his hand and after 30 years, picked up a guitar again.
He now is re inventing his career, a career that was taken away from him at the age of 23. One of the first things he did was to go out and buy the very same guitar he had when he was 19 (A sunburst Gibson Les Paul) and spent hours on mammoth practice sessions, getting the three fingers that were now working again, strong enough to play. He began writing songs for the album soon after, formed a backup band of seasoned musicians and Cowboy Hat was born.
Live audiences have compared Cowboy Hat to Leonard Cohen, Eels and Jack White's Raconteurs, and Barker's lyrics have been described as "breathtakingly inventive". The music is, raw, rich and full of power and the vocals and lyrical content are the backbone of this fantastic release.
An album not to be missed. A History of the American West and Other Stories is probably the best alt-Country debut album, you'll hear this year.
There are big things to come for this innovative record and inspiring man.