LUCIO BARBARINO –The Blue Evenings (own label)

The Blue EveningsSinger-songwriter Lucio Barbarino’s album, The Blue Evenings, touches every conceivable folk music port of call (from his native Cape Cod, Massachusetts) yet manages to avoid the usual tourist sights, sounds, and the occasional sing-along stuff of aging Woodstock people who find salvation inn The Eagles’ tuneful song, ‘Take It Easy’.

And that’s a tough thing to do.

Case in point: After a bit of strings, acoustic guitar, and vocalizing called ‘reallyclose’, the up-tempo tune ‘Alright’ ice skates a still summer romance that is long gone. But the pop pulse of the song belies its sense of lost love. The chorus is catchy to the nth degree. It’s an odd juxtaposition. But then, ‘Wasteland’ strums with minor key wisdom of “broken dreams”. And there’s swampy electric guitar solo, as the whole thing slightly recalls the vibe of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Born On The Bayou’. It’s gumbo soup stuff. The same is true for the complexity of ‘The Garden Gate’, which is mystical folk music distilled into some sort of hope that will always sing, even in the memory of an ancient and dead language romance.

Then ‘Basically Torture’ oozes with the tension of unrequited love. Quite frankly, the song really does sing with the pathos of (the great great!) Allan Taylor’s song, ‘Lavinia Forsythe-Jones’ (from his American Album) with its sad tale and melodic soundtrack to the ride on a one-way romantic highway thought.

That intensity is followed by the metaphoric ‘Cold Black Coffee’, which quick steps a bluesy guitar romp with a whistle and deep vocal that “hippy hippy shakes” with an earnest plea for love during “the rest of my life”.

Then there’s more folk music for everyone. ‘Lorraine’ could (almost) be an Al Stewart radio-friendly song, from his more polished Year Of The Cat period. That’s a big compliment. And ‘Make Believe’ is country soaked with a twilight piano touch and a waltzed vocal that lightly dances over young vegetable sprouts with yet another infectious melody. And then (oh my!) ‘The Lonely Hotel’ blows any sagebrush over a simplistic and quite beautiful country road. It’s a lovely tune. Fans of the tender songs on Jake Bugg’s first album will enjoy the song’s soft breath.

But as stated, this is a folk collection with a broad pastural brush. ‘Anna’ flirts with country rock and certainly nods toward the commercial sound of The Pure Prairie League (of 70’s super hit single ‘Amie’ fame!). Ditto for ‘You’ll Get Over Me’, with a bit of banjo thrown into the early Dylan songbook, about which, we don’t need “to think twice” because as with all folk music, “it’s all right. But the Rockabilly flavoured ‘Exactly What You Wanted’ shakes the grooves. And the ultra-melodic ‘The Astronomer’ resets the musical astrolabe and “hey” evokes the ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ Lennon Help acoustic stuff.

The final song, ‘Ramble’, is a lovely promenade with a nice waltz step that is cotton sheet warm, puffed cloud dreamy, majestically melodic, and downright hopeful. Nice.

The Blue Evening breathes a continuous life into folk music. As expected, there are influences galore, but these songs light a new votive candle with the sweet flame of really decent tunes that are painted with that broad pastoral folk brush that has a rather nice universal appeal.

And, as stated, that’s a really tough thing to do.

Bill Golembeski 

Artist’s website:

Demo reel:

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