(MBR Music)


In 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 Michael’s 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-Rec’s 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 there’s no words to get in the way of Barry-Rec’s sonic intentions here. Like Cooder, Frisell and Douglas, Barry-Rec’s 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-Rec’s Continuum CD. www.MichaelBarry-Rec.com / www.MilesHighProductions.com

mwe3.com presents an interview with

mwe3: 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. We’re surrounded here by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains... they’re like old friends, I love ‘em! As far as travel, it seems I’ve 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 there’s 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 don’t 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.

Mission is a pretty strong word... I would say that I’ve 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 I’ve 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... I’m 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 don’t consider myself a New Age artist. This stuff is just too richly diverse to work into a corner.

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 you’re featuring on the Continuum CD including electric, acoustic and lap steel guitars as well as strings, amps and favorite sonic effect and pedals.

Michael 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 I’ve crossed paths with many talented folks who’ve shared their gifts with me.

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... you’ll hear it on the next one. My acoustic is an extraordinary Taylor with Elixir's. Some of the pedals we’re running though including Line 6 multi-effects, Zendrive, MXR Carbon Copy, Electro-Harmonix Cathedral reverb.

mwe3: There’s 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, there’s 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?

Michael 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. We’ve 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 George’s 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, Umphrey’s 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!

Michael 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. It’s 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 it’s 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 future?

Michael Barry-Rec: I’ve 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 there’s an EP on the horizon... stay tuned!

Thanks to Michael Barry-Rec @ www.MichaelBarry-Rec.com


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