The Barrens (15 solo guitar pieces), like it’s predecessor Leeds Devil Blues (2005), is inspired by life in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. However, where Leeds Devil blues featured multiple instrumentation and vocals, The Barrens relies entirely on solo guitar compositions and arrangements. When music is stripped down to it’s most fundamental…a single instrument , the result is brutally honest and pure.
I’ve spent the last 17 years exploring the pine barrens. I’ve swam to the bottom of it’s rivers, waded in it’s sphagnum filled bogs, crawled through the cedar swamps and climbed to the amazing vistas in the pine plains. I’ve sat in cellar holes surrounded by ancient sandstone that were once a tavern, or homestead 150 years before. I’ve spoken to locals, who’s families have lived and worked in the barrens for generations. Stories of pirates, outlaws, woodjins, hermits, and of course, the elusive Leeds devil.
My goal was to capture the essence of the pine barrens and it’s bays and barrier islands in as simple a format as possible. A musical exploration into “the separate world” as John Mcphee described it more than forty years ago. As interesting and exciting in it’s culture and history as it is in it’s flora and fauna.
The tracks on The Barrens are performed on traditional classical guitar, steel string, and 12 string steel guitar. Fingerstyle arrangements are the most common approach used on this album. However, flat-picking is also utilized in the 12 string guitar compositions and on some 6 string steel.
While the idea of an album solely comprised of instrumental solo guitar pieces may seem limiting, nothing could be further from the truth. Classical, Celtic, Blues, Folk, and Bluegrass are all represented in the compilation.
Even if you have never heard of the pine barrens there is still a wealth of music here to enjoy. As music is universal and without regional constraints. I hope you like it,