A Review of the CD
"Bridge of Wings"
by Steve and Rosalind Barnes

"Bridge of Wings"
by Steve and Rosalind Barnes

Copyright 1996
Western Waves Productions
17 Stevens Street
Freemantle, Western Australia
phone & fax: (61) 09 336 2220

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 11/98
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Australians Steve and Rosalind Barnes have created an enjoyable collection of 11 songs and three instrumentals on their second CD, employing vivid imagery, solid craftsmanship, and aided immensely by cellist Peter Grayling on a number of cuts. Utilizing guitar, mandola, mandolin, mandocello, double bass, fretless electric bass, dobro, harmonica, uilleann pipes, washboard, wooden flute, and Grayling's aforementioned cello, the song styles range from soothing to uptempo and from folk to celtic. Rosalind Barnes' solid voice is at home with all the styles.

The opening cut, "The River Runs Deep," offers distinctive imagery, seemingly flying the listener directly over the land, rivers and oceans of Australia. Covering the concern about abusive water policies and the deleterious effects of the poisoning of this resource, this song is an eloquent statement about the damage occuring and the need to makes changes. Lee Buddle provides a nice touch on the wooden flute here.

Offering an analogy of a gum tree and wheat farmers intertwined to both the land and the weathering of bad times in "This Old Tree," the chorus goes:

The last verse continues: The effect of "The Weaver And The Buffalo Boy" is enhanced through mixing the plaintiveness in Rosalind Barnes' vocal expression with Grayling's cello. Inspired by a Chinese legend of a river created by a jealous goddess to separate two lovers, a flock of birds lend their wings to create a bridge the lovers cross to be together again. This is one of the best songs on this album.

The celtic-sounding "The Insomnia Jig" is also another top tune. Rosalind Barnes' lilt and cadence, combined with Steve Barnes on the mandola, carry this song well into the territory occupied by Dervish and others.

"Grey Stone Walls," inspired by the old lunatic asylum in Fremantle, pays homage to pain and suffering endured by the "social misfits" incarcerated there, including unwed mothers as suggested by the liner notes. Exquisite in its imagery, it goes:

This is a very creative release as the cuts offer up different styles, tempos and tastes. Steve Barnes is an excellent songwriter and musician, and teams well with his wife Rosalind in their musical presentation here. The instrumentation used in each song is quite varied and effective. Hidden away in Australia, this couple and their music deserve a greater audience.

Track List:

All songs written by Steve Barnes.

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