Tapestry Of Life Review from Rock Writer and Critic
Floridian singer, songwriter and musician Barry Myers has a new age meets old school pop-craft style about him and it’s a style that serves him well.
For his fourth solo album (or third if we take 2020’s Angel to be a 7-track extended EP) Barry Myers retains his Beatles, Dan Fogelberg and Pink Floyd influences but his melodic and lyrically personal sensibilities take centre stage on what is his most all-encompassing release to date.
Additionally, given the album is conceptually based around life's highs & lows (fitting for the Covid world of these last two years) Tapestry Of Life is also a well-named labour of love (and labour of living).
Nor does it hurt that there are a number of returnees from previous Barry Myers albums, including drummer, producer & mixer Sean Shannon (who has performed those roles admirably on just about everything Myers has done in the studio), Myers’ Florida based buddy and acclaimed Canadian guitarist Pat Travers (who has featured on previous Barry Myers albums) and guitarist Barry Stone, who played on Angel.
Additionally, and ably accompanying Barry Myers (lead vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, keys, piano) this time around is David Mikeal (lead & classical guitar, keys, bass, backing vocals).
The melodically charged 'Touch the Sky' is an uplifting opener of helping hand optimism ("you can’t turn back the years, but you can become very bold!"), complete with rock solid beat, sweeping guitar lines and lyrically reaffirming Middle 8.
Following number, the George Harrison-esque 'Light Again,' is the softer (voiced) side of Barry Myers housed within a big, balladeering sound; reflective and clearly personal, it’s as poignant as it is beautiful, with some gorgeous lead guitar work from David Mikeal.
The lighter rock and pop harmonies roll of 'Always Yesterday' is a lyrical apology about blaming the past (or others) for your present while 'Dream of the Night' offers up the album’s left-field moment.
A song of infatuation at first sight, the saxophone led (courtesy of Gregory Seel) and Latin styled sway of 'Dream of the Night' (which also carries a touch of Al Stewart about it) leads to the unmistakable sound of Pat Travers on full-bodied, melodic lead guitar as the song reaches its conclusion.
The classical guitar and piano led 'Praying Today' acts as the album’s short and contemplative interlude before the bigger sounding 'Burning Down the Wire' returns to the Barry Myers brand of melodic rock and guitar harmonies, lyrically bemoaning the issues many a talented and hard-working circuit band find themselves with as regards buyers, promoters and venues ("we reach out to you, you don’t reach back… want us to fill your room, luxury laundry mat?").
Short vignette piece, 'Anger and Love,' with background jazz sax, leads to the melodic and almost Floydian cries of 'Cutting Through,' a song that hearkens back to Barry Myers earlier work, such as heard on debut album 7th Avenue.
'Cutting Through,' in resonating chord turn, then sets up the shorter but no less melodic ballad, 'Letters in the Sky.'
The downtempo and melodic country vibe of the title track, featuring guitarist Barry Stone, lyrically threads the 'Tapestry Of Life' together, thus completing the journey.
To borrow from the title track's lyrical analogy, Barry Myers has, once again, weaved a tapestry of melodic threads through a collection of well-written, well performed and well produced songs that deserve melodic rock/ AOR airplay and recognition well beyond the confines of his Floridian playing borders.
Angel Review From Music Writer and Critic Ross Muir
As has been written by many before, including FabricationsHQ, the musical influences of Floridian singer, songwriter and musician Barry Myers range from The Beatles and Dan Fogelberg to Pink Floyd.
The singer-songwriter meets soft rock stylings of Barry Myers were heard to good effect back in 2010 on debut album 7th Avenue (which also included a little cool jazz and plenty of melody) before the Floyd-esque atmospheres, mixed with Myers’ own highly captivating sound, came to the fore on the semi-conceptual and outstanding Starseeds and Dreamcatchers four years later (the album also featured Pat Travers on lead guitar).
On Angel, Barry Myers’ third album (more accurately a mini-album or extended EP of seven tracks), Myers and his live band (Barry Stone - lead guitar, Glenn Davis - drums, Bobby Granato - bass) have fused the sonic atmospheres of Starseeds and Dreamcatchers and the soft rock appeal of 7th Avenue to deliver an introspective album that holds true to Barry Myers’ musical strengths – delightful melodies, thoughtful harmonies and great songwriting.
Nor does it hurt that Sean Shannon – a musician/ sound engineer who is as good behind a drum kit as he is sitting in the producer’s chair (and that’s very good indeed), is back to help out – Shannon (who shares drum duties with Glenn Davis) played on, and produced, both 7th Avenue and Starseeds and Dreamcatchers.
The results are a warm, full sound that fits the album’s sonic and songwriting profile.
Opening number and lead-off single 'The Ways of Love' is John Lennon transported to 21st century soft rock land, right down to Barry Myers’ little Lennon-esque drops of vocality (I swear you can almost hear Lennon singing harmony on the choruses).
Following number 'The Drive' offers up delightful little electric guitar remarks from Barry Stone, sprinkled over an acoustic backing, before the fuller sounding 'I’m Not Finished Yet' (again with a highly effective less is more approach to the lead guitar) is a lessons learned song of self-empowerment ("I’m not finished yet – not by a long shot!")
The airy and breezy 'No More Goodbyes' is the sort of warm sounding melodic pop number that should be saturating the US coastal airwaves while you sing-a-long on your car radio while the rythmic 'This is True' brings a little samba-esque pop soul to proceedings.
'Sailing in Solitude' is the most introspective number on Angel, but the song manages to float above the melancholy through its harmonic structure, deft lead guitar touches and a deceptively uplifting vibe.
The short piano-and-vocal piece 'This Angel' is in complete contrast to the bigger production of the previous six songs but it works as an effective, and personal, sign-off to what is another lovely little release from Barry Myers.
“2/23/17 - Edition of The Mike Kara Radio Show The Central Florida BuzzAn Interview With Barry MyersSinger/Songwriter/Vocalist/Performer/Musicianhttp://mikekara.com/barrymyers1.mp3http://mikekara.com/barrymyers2.mp3http://mikekara.com/barrymyers3.mp3” - Taped Interview of Barry Myers on The Mike Show-The Central Florida Buzz
“ Starseeds and Dreamcatchers is nothing less than one of the strongest rock releases of 2014. Ross Muir Music Writer and Critic” - Ross Muir
“Thought Provoking Rock In close on 17 years since this site was established we must have received several hundred requests from bands & solo artists who want us to promote them because ‘they sound like Pink Floyd’. Most have been rejected and we can only think of about three or four who have made the grade and been worthy of a promotion. Recently we were contacted by Floridian singer, songwriter and musician Barry Myers about his new CD ‘Starseeds and Dreamcatchers’, with Barry telling us his music has been described as a cross between John Lennon & Pink Floyd. Not expecting much, we played his CD and were blown away!" ” - Col Turner
“Barry Myers – Catching Dreams! By Terry Walsh Singer / guitarist Barry Myers may not be a household name at the moment, but that could change as the momentum from his first two albums-7th Avenue and the recently released Starseeds And Dreamcatchers continues to build. Drawing favorable comparisons to Pink Floyd for his atmospheric sound, Myers also knows how to deliver a musical hook and harmonies with his distinctive voice.Rounding out his sound is guitar legend Pat Travers adding some phenomenal, understated riffs and tones with drummer / producer Sean “The Cannon” Shannon pulling things together. Barry Myers is an artist worth discovering and listening to. CRR: The new album has some of the same feel as 7th Avenue, but it’s also a bit heavier. BM: I’d say maybe edgier. CRR: What is your musical background? BM: I used to make home demos. A buddy of mine and I called ourselves The Pathetix and he would play guitar and I would play most of the instruments. Then I met drummer Sean Shannon (Molly Hatchet, Pat Travers Band.) We were gonna go into business together to buy a studio here in the Orlando area that was up for sale where some big names used to record. It didn’t come together which turned out to be a blessing because people aren’t using these big rooms as much anymore because the technology has made it possible to make albums at home now! I played Sean some of the demos and he said, “You ought to do something with these!” Then, my better half, Ivy Gilbert, who is an author, was writing a book called “Feeling Funkabulous” (www.funkabulous.com), and I said, ‘“Why don’t we put one of these songs in your book?”’ It was gonna be South Side of the Moon, and we’d put a CD in the book. Then it became an idea of doing a whole album. So the 7th Avenue album was basically a soundtrack to her book Feeling Funkabulous, which was about a woman turning 40 and the the mental things they go through in a story line. For instance, the song “House of Mirrors” is about her going into a mirror store and seeing herself in the mirror everywhere and the things it got her thinking about. “Ancient Ways” is about me meeting Ivy in real life. So that was the whole idea behind the 7th Avenue album. CRR: What is like going from being a fan of Pat Travers to having him play on your albums? BM: He’s been great! There was a period after 7th Avenue was finished when I didn’t even wanna touch my friggin’ guitar (laughs) or do anything. Sean would say, ’Let’s get together any jam or whatever’” and I just… I don’t know! Sean must have said something to Pat because I got an email from him and he said, “‘I go through it all the time. Then all of a sudden it’s gonna come roaring back.’“ Right after that, the songs for Starseeds and Dreamcatchers just flew out. CRR: What was the idea behind Starseeds and Dreamcatchers? BM: Originally I was trying to get it done by the end of 2012 when all the doomsday stuff was going on. My wife Ivy and I went to Maine where she’s from and visited Bar Harbor, which is this cool little hippie and tourist town right on the ocean. I said to Ivy, “I think God hangs out there during the summer!’” We went into this bookstore that sold hippie clothes and real spacey spiritual books and there’s this guy in there talking about the end of the world in 2012 and he’s saying he thinks we’re all gonna be ok because he’s been reading “The Starseeds Transmissions.” I said, “What the heck are The Starseeds Transmissions?” I had no clue! (laughing.) So I put it on my iPad and read it. It’s essentially something about somebody channeling someone… I thought it was a good idea for a song. I had the lyrics for an opening track down, but I didn’t have a chorus. Then I thought: Starseeds and Dreamcatchers. I had no idea what a Dreamcatcher was. CRR: Aren’t they the things you see hanging from people’s rear view mirrors? BM: Exactly! I had no clue that they were from Native American culture. After that, I got the idea for the second song, “Dreamcatchers”, which is about my dad passing away. At the end is a lyric, “Inbound. Eden Rising.” Eden Rising was the name of the store we were at and I thought, “That’s a cool lyric!” We were also watching shows like Ancient Aliens, and one episode was about these aliens that came zillions of years ago and basically seeded the earth. So the whole album is kind of a story about that. My account, basically. CRR: So a lot of the inspiration for the album came from your trip and hearing about these things? BM: Yeah! I started trying to figure out what Starseeds were. So I looked them up online and they’re supposedly people that the aliens left here and their offspring are called Indigo Childs. That’s where the song Indigo Child came from. I don’t believe any of this stuff, but I thought it was interesting! They had something on CNN with Indigo Childs where they don’t do well in school but can see the future and all that. I don’t remember all the details of it, but thought it was a great idea for a song! CRR: Some of this is kind of risky songwriting territory isn’t it? BM: It is, but I thought it was really interesting. What if that is true? What if God were an alien? It’s not like I totally believe that, but you never know. So I don’t want to say I absolutely don’t believe it, but I wasn’t preaching either. CRR: That really puts your creative direction into perspective- weaving a story from an experience you had. BM: Right. Like I said, we were watching a lot of shows like the Mayan calendar. That’s what the song “Days and Numbers” is about. “The Arrival” came from one of the theories that Man was still like Cro Magnon Man and these aliens came and enlightened us. “Home Again” is about one of these aliens grabbing someone and taking them back to wherever it is they came from. CRR: Wow! I thought it was about dying and the journey to Heaven. BM: I was a big Rush fan growing up. So “Days and Numbers”, “The Arrival” and “Home Again” are basically a little trilogy like something from 2112. They all go together. The only one that didn’t fit was “Angels and Elvis”. I’ve had that one sitting around for 10 years or so. CRR: How did you end up working with Pat Travers? BM: Through Sean. While we were working on 7th Avenue I told him I played rhythm and some keys, but didn’t have a lead player. So he says, “‘Don’t worry. I’ll get Pat to play on it.’” “REALLY? Pat TRAVERS?!?” was all I could say! (laughing.) Sean sent him a couple of demos and Pat said, “‘Sure I’ll play on it! But tell him NO Chocolate M&M’s!” I didn’t know what he meant or how to take that until Sean told me about the Van Halen concert rider story about M&M’s! CRR: That’s a Rock n’ Roll dream come true isn’t it?BM: I know! To go from riding around in the car with friends and hearing the Makin’ Magic album for the first time and then having all this happen… CRR: Is the lead guitar on the albums you or Pat? BM: That is all Pat. I play some rhythm and acoustic in the background and some keyboards. The Hammond B3 and some of the real intricate parts are all done by Michael Stewart. He also played the cool string sounding part on “Angels and Elvis”. CRR: Is music your full time gig or do you have the proverbial “real job”? BM: Music is my alter ego. I’m actually the Director of Tennis, I’m a tennis professional at a country club here in the Orlando area and I’ve been there since 1986. Most people don’t know I’m a tennis director. They think, ‘He must be a musician. He hangs with Pat Travers. Blah blah blah!” CRR: That’s what I thought! BM: You’re never too old to start. That’s how I’ve always felt. CRR: How old were you when all this started happening? BM: I met Sean in 2006, and we started talking about doing a proper album in 2008. I have Pro Tools at my house, but I didn’t have anyone to play drums or mix the album. You can buy drum sample plug-ins for Pro Tools, but they’re not the same as a real drummer. Then I thought, ‘I should call Sean.’” He came over and listened to some of the tunes where I was basically playing all the instruments and suggested some re-arrangements, putting live drums on there and brought in some different guys to fill it out.” CRR: So it wasn’t the traditional ‘get a record deal’ route, but more organic… BM: Yeah! Sean always says, “‘You don’t know how lucky you are being a solo guy! You don’t have to deal with anybody else. You do what you wanna do. If somebody doesn’t like the song, it doesn’t matter.” What’s been great is that the guys who played on the albums have said, “‘Barry- anytime you wanna play, I would love to play these songs live.”’ So that’s how the whole thing about putting a live band together came about. CRR: Have you done any live gigs? BM: Not yet, but we are putting a band together to do some live shows here in the Orlando area. One of the guys who played keyboards on the album, Michael Stewart used to play in a band around here called Diablo Canyon. Their singer was a local DJ and he unfortunately passed away. So Michael is talking about having the players from Diablo Canyon join up with me and call it Barry Myers and the 7th Avenue Band. We’re gonna get together and try to flesh these songs out and see how they sound live. CRR: If playing live works, would you tour behind the two albums?BM: I keep getting asked, so I thought, “‘Let’s get together and see what they sound like.’” I’ve talked to Pat about it in the past and he always says, “Don’t try to make it sound like the record. Just play em’ straight through. Obviously you want to sound sort of like the record, but don’t feel like you have to duplicate every note.” At first that didn’t make sense, but then I got what he was saying: just play it. CRR: Like the title of his song “Play It Like You See it” then? BM: Yeah! Especially with Starseeds and Dreamcatchers. There’s a lot of keyboards, Hammond B3 and stuff. Of course with Michael, he plays the B3 and two keyboards at once sometimes, so that will help doing it live. CRR: That reminds me of the Eagles. They’re a great live band, but they were often criticized for essentially replicating their albums live. BM: I was just gonna mention them! I saw them when the Orlando Arena opened awhile back and they sounded fantastic! But I thought, ‘They sound exactly like the CD.’” CRR: So that’s what Pat was referring to? BM: Exactly. “Don’t think you have to play it note for note exactly like the record. Just play it.” Like I said, I struggled to get my mind around that. But it turned out to be really good advice. CRR: Who will be in the live band? BM: Barry Stone is on lead guitar and vocals, Michael Stewart is on Hammond B3, keyboards and vocals, Glen Davis on Drums, Bobby Granato on Bass and vocals and myself on guitars and lead vocals. CRR: It’s a great story how all of this came about. BM: After 7th Avenue I thought, ‘“That was a fluke. I’m not gonna be able to do that again.”’ I was proud of the record. I Thought, ‘“Those songs are pretty good!’” But when I tried to write something new, nothing would come out. One day Pat came by to borrow my classical guitar and we started talking about the struggle I was having. I think there must be magic in that guitar because he wrote a lot of “Can Do” on it and I ended up writing a lot of Starseeds on it. CRR: Starseeds And Dreamcatchers is still new. Are you working on new ideas already? BM: After I finished this album, I went through the SAME thing I did after 7th Avenue. I thought, ‘“These songs are pretty good. I CAN’T do that again!’” I don’t even know where the songs came from. They came from the Ether or something! But I’m starting to think, “Where am I gonna go now?’” I did the same thing with Starseeds, ‘“Maybe I’ll just do a single or maybe an EP.’” Then again, Ivy has just put out a book called “The Keeper of Clarity” which went to number 1 on Amazon. It kind of correlates to Starseeds and Dreamcatchers because she got a lot of the inspiration when we were in Maine. I was thinking that if her book became a movie, I could write the soundtrack and I’ve put some ideas down as a soundtrack, but more acoustic based. WWW.BARRYMYERSMUSIC.COMWWW.FACEBOOK.COM/PAGES/BARRY-MYERS” - Terrry Walsh
— Classic Rock Revisted
“ If you love Pink Floyd then you will love this guy, I for one certainly do. This talented singer/songwriter musician knows how to play and please the ears. Vocally superb, Lyrically supreme and the music is just rock ambient, relaxing, uplifting, and just damn good".Rockbandom.com ”
“ Starseeds and Dreamcatchers is a solid effort. If you like a surplus of reverb laced guitar solos and go to bed every night wishing Pink Floyd had another album coming, I suggest you give this a moment of your time".” - Matt Jensen
— The Equal Ground Music Review