the spirit of guitar masters such as Ry Cooder, Jerry Douglas, Bill
Frisell, David Lindley and other fine players, Virginia-based Michael
Barry-Rec strikes guitar gold with his 2014 CD, his third, entitled
Continuum. Speaking of great guitarists and guitar
advocates, George Winston appears on Michaels CD along
with guest appearances by JD Foster (bass), Johnny Hott
(drums) and Adrian Olsen (mellotron, keyboards). In the
spirit of George Winston, (both his solo albums and his guitar productions
on Dancing Cat Records), Michael Barry-Recs music is highly
atmospheric. Throughout the CD, Michael's lap steel guitar sounds
and acoustic guitars break through the sonic stratosphere like a butter
knife slicing through cosmic clouds at high altitudes. Filled with
all manners of guitar-centric sounds, Continuum is all instrumental
so theres no words to get in the way of Barry-Recs sonic
intentions here. Like Cooder, Frisell and Douglas, Barry-Recs
lonesome guitar sounds echo the wide open spaces of the American heartland.
Fans of instrumental Americana and guitar-centric New Age instrumental
music will thoroughly enjoy Michael Barry-Recs Continuum
mwe3.com presents an
Where are you originally from and where do you live now and what do
you like best about it? Also, do you travel a lot and what are some
of your favorite destinations?
Michael Barry-Rec: I was born and raised in a small rural town
in southeast Connecticut and now live in the heart of the Shenandoah
Valley in Rockbridge County, Virginia. Were surrounded here
by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains... theyre like old friends,
I love em! As far as travel, it seems Ive been pretty
content in Rockbridge for awhile but, I do hear the Caribbean calling
from time to time... especially after getting hammered last night
with 14 inches of snow. Yeah mon!
mwe3: What was your musical mission for the Continuum
CD? It sounds rooted in the Americana / instrumental music realm but
theres plenty of diverse styles on the album. I was thinking
Dickey Betts or Jerry Douglas jamming with Leo Kottke!
Michael Barry-Rec: This CD could be called 13 Shades
of Michael Barry-Rec. I dont allow myself to be too constrained
by any one particular genre. I try to give voice to what moves me
not necessarily what will aid marketability.
is a pretty strong word... I would say that Ive completed the
mission already by staying as true as I could to the creative process.
To what degree this music resonates with folks is yet to be seen but
Ive gotten a load of positive feedback thus far.
mwe3: Can you tell us about your earlier album releases and
how they compare sound wise with the Continuum CD? How do you
feel your music has progressed over the years and do you consider
your music New Age or healing / meditative in some respects? Are you
planning a DVD or music videos?
Michael Barry-Rec: There are some great moments on both previous
releases but the general sound quality of Continuum is quite
superior. One of the major differences this go round is the studio.
It was the suggestion of George Winston to get in touch with Bruce
Olsen at Montrose Recording studio in Richmond, Virginia. Previously,
I pieced the projects together over a lengthy period... this time
I actually lived and breathed Continuum for four glorious days
after which all the basic tracks were complete.
Most musical progression is evident in my lap steel delivery... Im
just much more at home with the instrument than I was ten years ago.
Although I gravitate to the more ethereal / atmospheric aspect of
the lap steel and have gotten lots of positive feedback on the healing
/ meditative elements of my music, I dont consider myself a
New Age artist. This stuff is just too richly diverse to work into
Keep your eyes and ears open for the Shake Rag Shuffle
video shortly after release!
mwe3: What was your early music education and guitar studies
like? How long have you played guitar and tell us what guitars youre
featuring on the Continuum CD including electric, acoustic
and lap steel guitars as well as strings, amps and favorite sonic
effect and pedals.
Barry-Rec: I picked up the guitar at an early age, took lessons
for a short time and then little Mr. Independent felt like he was
good to go! (lol) I then remember quite a stretch of time where I
was absolutely driven to learn all my favorite songs (mostly Beatles
at that point) on the guitar. Through the years Ive crossed
paths with many talented folks whove shared their gifts with
The lap steel came into the picture about twelve years ago. The lap
on Continuum is a Chandler with DR strings run through my Fender
Twin, direct through a multi-effects and direct dry. I picked up a
vintage Gibson shortly after we completed recording... youll
hear it on the next one. My acoustic is an extraordinary Taylor with
Elixir's. Some of the pedals were running though including Line
6 multi-effects, Zendrive, MXR Carbon Copy, Electro-Harmonix Cathedral
mwe3: Theres somewhat of a hip-hop groove on some tracks
on Continuum. Tell us about the more electronic, processed
sounds, looping and other treatments you implement on the CD and how
that blends in with the guitar sounds.
Michael Barry-Rec: Everything was recorded through a beautiful
Flickinger analog console then mixed on ProTools. Any processed sounds
were applied in the mix. Although I loop when I play live, theres
no looping on this CD itself. All drum tracks were live - bass, drums
and myself - in the studio as well.
mwe3: Who else plays with you on the Continuum CD and
can you say something about how you ended up working with George Winston,
who plays on a track here?
Barry-Rec: We had a talented drummer from Richmond named Johnny
Hott. Adrian Olsen provided us with some sweet Hammond. J.D. Foster
played bass throughout. J.D. has an impressive resume having toured
/ played with Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam and
Calexico to name a few. George Winston got in touch with me after
hearing my first CD to let me know how much he liked it. Weve
stayed in contact through the years... In fact, he played supportive
piano on my second release Streams In The Desert as well as
his participation on Continuum. It was actually Georges
encouragement that got me back in the studio this time around.
mwe3: What artists, bands and guitarists influenced you when
you were younger and how about what guitarists and other recording
artists interest you today?
Michael Barry-Rec: When I was just a wee lad it was all Beatles.
Artists that I appreciated in my teen years that have stood the test
of time: David Gilmour, David Lindley, especially his work with Jackson
Browne, seventies era Jerry Garcia, especially his pedal steel work,
and Neil Young to name a few... The artist that seriously made me
look into instrumental music and lit the fire in me to learn the lap
steel was Steve Kimock. A good majority of his work with the Rodney
Holmes version of the Steve Kimock Band (2000 to 2005) was nothing
short of phenomenal! A few bands that have wowed me over the last
ten years: Lotus, STS9, Umphreys McGee, The Disco Biscuits,
The Derek Trucks Band, The Campbell Brothers...
mwe3: What are you hoping people will come away with after
hearing Continuum and what kind of audience are you planning
to reach out to? Being instrumental there should be interest from
all over the world! No language barriers here!
Barry-Rec: One of the beauties of instrumental music is the ease
with which the listener can personalize it, and make it their own.
Through all the strife and division that so often stirs on the surface
of humanity is a light that burns. Its our common ground
that breathes life into us. Why is it that we so easily forget
If after hearing Continuum that unity is refreshed, even if
its for a few seconds, that would be my definition of success.
mwe3: What plans do you have in 2014 and beyond as far as writing
new music, rehearsing, recording and possible live shows in the near
Michael Barry-Rec: Ive got this itch to go back into
the MBR archives and remix and re-master a few tunes. With new music
still cropping up I just got this hunch theres an EP on the
horizon... stay tuned!
Thanks to Michael Barry-Rec @ www.MichaelBarry-Rec.com