article reprinted by kind permission, Bay Life
listen to first track from new album, One More Crow, “Turn it Up‘” here

The new album, “One More Crow”, is published by Copro Records, a specialist label based in Henley-on-Thames.—Bay Life, 6 October 2016

“Listen with the volume set to 11”, he said grinning as he put on the first track, Turn it Up, of his new album, One More Crow, writes Bay Life.

In come the jangly guitars, Big Country style. The tune locks into your head, and you end up hearing the song all day along the Eastbourne Road.

The new album is a revelation. Coming away from Coast Road in Pevensey Bay, where Peter lives with wife Jan, you start to wonder if we may be about to witness someone local on the road to success.

One More Crow, is published by Copro Records, a specialist indie label based in Henley.

They argue, “we always make sure we release stuff on Copro that we are 100% behind and believe in”. If a demo is still being played in the office a week later, it stands some chance”. Peter now has that chance.

The standard of music is such that it is possible to imagine tracks appearing on a BBC4 documentary, specialist radio stations, a new social media advertising campaign for a company or even airplay on the mainstream radio channels.

Catchy is the word for the songs. And catchy in a way that draws on an era of music that is beginning to resonate again now.

As well as writing the compositions, Peter sings and plays guitar.

By day, Peter is a furniture restorer, but his spare time is taken up with restoring the early seventies to its rightful place in the cannon of musical history.

It all started with Peter riding a white swan in the shadow of Windsor Castle in 1970. Born in the winter of 1957 in the shadow of Windsor Castle (but sadly lacking any blue blood as he emphasises), he first picked up a guitar at the age of 14 after hearing ‘Ride a White Swan’ on the radio.

He explains that, “I immediately put it down again as I hadn’t a clue how to play it – but after a while, the necessary two chords were mastered and I went on to play in various rock and pop ensembles throughout the 70s and 80s”.

The music, draws from various strands of key influence.

“At the beginning of the 21st Century,” he explains, “I was reborn and rocking with a new attitude, new guitar (new hat) and a whole host of new and original tunes”.

‘Jupiter Diamond’, his last album, was conceived, writtenº, recorded and published at the beginning of 2014.

The album saw Peter fronting a strong rhythm section (with Nick Harradence on drums and Danny Lectrow on bass) performing ten original songs.

Pinning down the sound is quite hard, but there is a theme than runs like a stick of rock through the sound that references the early seventies and in particular the work of Marc Bolan and T Rex.

The sleeve notes pin down the sound in a particular way. “Rooted a little in the 70’s/80’s but with its (bleeding) heart in the 21st century, the songs are mostly up-tempo electric rock numbers with catchy hooks”.

A couple of the songs were picked up by the rock radio station ARfm.

They liked the album enough to feature tracks on three of their radio shows. (‘Bad Blood’ being a particular favourite). Catchy hooks is where we come in with the new album, One More Crow, as well.

The album is something of a more mainstream sound with still the same seamless feel in the compositions. Peter has created something of a synthesis, mixing a number of styles and genres into his own recipe book. So is he on the path to the success?

Think Sweet meets Suzie Quatro riffs with an underlying T Rex kind of shape and you get the point, except that you do not get the point.

The synthesis is pure Peter Barron, which I guess partly explains why his tracks have been picked by specialist radio stations and the record companies have come calling.

Something about 2016 says that the ensemble pieces he creates, moving from teeny bop rock, early seventies into more classically composed three chord wonders, says that his sound is right for the times in which we live.

The sound draws from the greats, much like painters study old masters.

As well as stories, the songs are visual, if that makes sense.

‘Blood Runs Black’ on YouTube, for example, from the album ‘Jupiter Diamond’, sees him white faced growling about burying those rocking bones.

Think Screaming Jay Hawkins meets a cranked up Tom Waits.

When we met up in a local cafe to talk about the record deal, the obvious first question was whether he is still riding a white swan in the shadow of Windor Castle.

He is fond of quoting the Lou Reed line, “One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz”.

We wanted to dig into what makes the new album work.

One More Crow seems to take the last album one stage further with a mix of genres and styles, would be a fair estimate?

“Yes I suppose so, but nothing is really deliberate, it’s just how things turn out although I did aim for a harder edged sound with this one…..”

The harder edged sound is definitely there, but most certainly not at the expense of the tunes or the writing.

We pointed out that the first track “Turn it Up” starts with swirling guitars and has an infectious poppy hard to pin down tune with finely crafted words. What kind of steps go into getting the distinct sound?

“Musically, this track has a lot in common with early Alice Cooper, although it didn’t occur to me while I was writing it, but I recently listened back to the ‘Killer’ album and I can now hear the influence.

“Lyrically it deliberately references Bolan and finding salvation in rock & roll but the seed of it came with the opening line – Things sound different with your eyes wide (open or shut) so it became about sound so ‘Turn It Up’ seemed the obvious chorus”.

It has been said that some of his couplets are stand out song writing, bearing comparison to Elvis Costello, was he aware of these comparisons?

In ‘Blood Runs Black’ for instance, on the album Jupiter Diamond, we get “My knees are shaking, I can’t sit still/I’m hyperventilating as I write my will”, which is Ramones territory, but the lines could equally have come from something like “My Aim is True” by Elvis Costello.

“To be honest I really don’t think of Costello as being much of an influence – the only album of his I have ever owned was Almost Blue, where he covers lots of country standards so I can thank him for introducing me to country music perhaps but have never been much of a fan otherwise.

“Cohen and Dylan are probably more of an influence lyrically I would think and probably Robyn Hitchcock too but he’s not so well known… I do like things to flow and rhyme well though”.

Whatever the influences the songs are certainly strong on hooks.

It led on to a question about the synthesis, starting in the early seventies, that seems to be the hallmark of the songs. Sometimes, we suggested, you hear Tom Waits, sometimes we hear Iggy Pop.

He talked about T-Rex being such an important source of material with the early seventies sound, but what we are hearing is pure Peter Barron, how we asked, do the compositions take shape, does he consciously start with an idea to write something in a particular genre?

“I rarely sit down and try hard to write a song, that won’t usually work.

“I tend to wait until a line or a melody hits me so hard, I can’t ignore it – it’s usually a phrase or hook line that acts as a catalyst.

“I can often have the whole song written or mapped out in my head before I’ve even picked up the guitar – although I didn’t used to be able to do that.

“I suppose the mood of the lyric will dictate the pace and delivery of the song, whether it’s going to be a ballad or an up tempo pop song’.

Last we asked about the excitement of the indie label record deal, where would he like to be a year or so with his music?

“That’s a tricky one – I enjoy the writing and recording process but I’m not really interested in performing live, so promoting myself as an all round artist is a bit tricky but I’d love to see one of my tracks picked up for a soundtrack or maybe covered by another artist, so it may lead me somewhere or it may lead me nowhere but whatever happens, I’m not going to stop writing songs”.

With the troubadour style picture on the front cover of his album, “Time Stands Still”, shot sitting beside a groyne in Pevensey Bay, it is not impossible to envisage a scene in which Peter Barron comes back to where it all began to film a sequence in different circumstances. The pot holes will no doubt still be in evidence.

Maybe not Highway 61 Revisited, but what ever happens next with the music of Peter Barron, what seems sure is that we will be hearing more from the quiet man of Coast Road.

The Peter Barron music platform is here, You can listen to ‘Turn it Up’, the first tack from his new album, ‘One More Crow’, on Soundcloud. www.peterbarron.co.uk

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