Kevin Barker - You & Me LP
Includes mp3 download of album.
What were you expecting from the guitarist for Vetiver? Doom metal? Reggaeton? It shouldn't come as any great shock to anyone that axeman Kevin Barker's first venture outside the Vetiver fold is full of lambent, low-key folk-rock very much in the vein of his Andy Cabic-led day job. Considering that fact that the aforementioned band is among the finest practitioner of the contemporary beard-band scene, and that Barker's liquid guitar tones play an important role in their sound, the similarity is nothing to despair over. Vetiver drummer Otto Hauser is on hand here, too, and Barker's gentle, California-dreaming vocals are not a million miles from those of Cabic, but there's (understandably) a greater emphasis on guitar work here. Within the confines of Vetiver, it's sometimes possible to forget what an accomplished musician Barker is, but from his Jerry Garcia-like tones on opening track "Little Picture of You," to his deft, Mississippi John Hurt-style acoustic fingerpicking on the gently loping "My Lady," You & Me makes sure his six-string gifts remain in the forefront of the listener's mind. And while the reigning mood of the album is one of warm, Southern California breezes and sun-splashed sojourns to the Pacific Ocean, other influences pop up along the way, particularly a fondness for British folk-rock that's displayed in the Fairport Convention-ish strains of "I Will Fly" and the moody, Bert Jansch-esque acoustic closing track, "Bless You On Your Way." So don't criticize Barker for not diverging too far from the musical imprint he's made elsewhere, be be thankful instead that he plays to his strengths, something far too few musicians are wise enough to do these days.