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Bar 17
     

Bar 17

by Trey Anastasio
 
It's difficult to say what Bar 17 reveals about the development of Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio as a solo artist -- given that the disc was actually largely completed before he began work on his previous outing, Shine -- but course charting aside, it's hard to deny the pleasures offered by these 13 songs.

Overview

It's difficult to say what Bar 17 reveals about the development of Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio as a solo artist -- given that the disc was actually largely completed before he began work on his previous outing, Shine -- but course charting aside, it's hard to deny the pleasures offered by these 13 songs. For most of Bar 17, Anastasio seems intent on letting his freak flag fly -- a habit he curtailed on the surprisingly succinct Shine -- by festooning ornate songs like "Cincinnati" with full string sections, jazzbo honking, and some of his more off-kilter soloing in ages. "Goodbye Head," a similarly complex ditty, revisits the episodic stylings that Anastasio explored early in Phish's career -- a serious pursuit that's leavened somewhat by playful lyrics contributed by the guitarist's ten-year-old daughter. Anastasio has been at it long enough to know that he needs to tickle more than just the collective cerebrum, and he devotes plenty of energy to body and soul here -- hitting the former square in the hips on the swinging "If You're Walking," a groove-oriented cut that's buoyed by percussionist Cyro Baptiste. The heartstrings get their best workout on "Empty House," an introspective tune that lets Anastasio explore the depths of solitude while filling some of that empty space with sweet finger-picking that goes a way towards dulling that pain. Whether or not -- as Trey has recently insinuated -- a Phish reunion is a possibility, this collection definitely raises the Bar for what he might offer up in the future.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Trey Anastasio's Bar 17 is a return, while ever looking forward, to the adventurous pop sounds on his self-titled solo album issued in 2002 and Shine from 2005. This is an ambitious, wide-ranging recording, with over 40 session players (granted 14 of them are string players, but so what?) among them, members of Phish, John Medeski, Cyro Baptista, and Briggan Krauss. In addition, this is the kickoff effort from Anastasio's Rubber Jungle Records. Bar 17 was produced by Anastasio and Bryce Goggin and the artist's own Barn studio in Vermont and in New York City. The music on these 13 tracks ranges from balls-out rockers such as the album's first single "Dragonfly," and the aptly titled "Mud City." There are the funky, ambitious but accessibly knotty pieces such as the album's opener, "Host Across the Potomac," and gorgeously textured pop songs, such as "Shadow," and "Let Me Lie." There are shimmering acoustic pieces like "Empty House" and stretched-out rock tunes that allow for real improvisation in the title track and "Goodbye Head." There are also a few unclassifiable, numbers with lush strings, lots of space, and paces that move form slow to slower. The closer is a sprawling jazz-rock piece with horns and pumping pianos that becomes a rock & roll jam. The point is, this is one unfettered date. That said, however, it is utterly focused and there isn't anything extra here despite the fact that the album is over 70-minutes long. Apparently, there is a bunch of stuff left over from the session, as well: those who pre-ordered the set from Anastasio's website get those leftovers on a bonus CD as a thank you. Anastasio's work outside of Phish while they were together, and especially since the group disbanded, is utterly fresh, exciting, and full of surprises. While his records undeniably have a "sound" that belongs to him, they are so wide reaching yet utterly accessible that it may be difficult not to find something in here that's appealing. Another winner.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/03/2006
Label:
Red Int / Red Ink
UPC:
0800314895220
catalogNumber:
48952

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Trey Anastasio   Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Peter Apfelbaum   Tenor Saxophone
David Angell   Violin
Cyro Baptista   Percussion
David Davidson   Violin
Connie Ellisor   Violin
Jonathan Fishman   Drums
Dave Grippo   Alto Saxophone
Jim Grosjean   Viola
Leslie Hall   Keyboards
David Hancock   Cello
Tony Markellis   Bass
John Medeski   Keyboards
Ben Perowsky   Drums
Kristin Wilkinson   Viola
Briggan Krauss   Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Joan Wasser   Vocals
Ben Perowski   Drums
Gary Tussing   Cello
Monisa Angell   Viola
Karen Winkelmann   Violin
Erik Lawrence   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Mike Gordon   Bass
Peter Chwazik   Bass
Janet Askey   Violin
Steven Bernstein   Trumpet
Ray Paczkowski   Keyboards
Joe Russo   Drums
Todd Sickafoose   Bass
Jennifer Hartswick   Trumpet,Vocals
Russ Lawton   Drums
Russell Remington   Flute,Tenor Saxophone
Andy Moroz   Trombone
Marco Benevento   Keyboards
Jared Slomoff   Trumpet
Skeeto Valdez   Drums
Sarighani Reist   Cello
Christina Durfee   Vocals
Carmen Keegan   Vocals
Jacqueline Pickett   String Bass
Mark Reneau   Violin
Sue Schick   Clarinet

Technical Credits

Trey Anastasio   Composer,Producer,Horn Arrangements,Audio Production
Rick Beato   Engineer
Bryce Goggin   Producer,Audio Production
Greg Adams   Horn Arrangements
Anthony Ruotolo   Engineer
Bobby Shin   Engineer
Peter J. Carini   Engineer
Ken Lanyon   Engineer
Jared Slomoff   Engineer
Adam Sachs   Engineer
Beth Montuori Rowles   Studio Coordinator
Don Hart   String Arrangements,String Conductor

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