Martin Barre has been the guitarist of Jethro Tull for 43 years, his sound and playing having been a major factor in their success. Album sales have exceeded 60 million units and they continue to be played worldwide, representing an important part of classic rock history. Martin Barre`s guitar playing has earned him a high level of respect and recognition, he was voted 25th best solo ever in the USA and 20th best solo ever in the UK for his playing on Aqualung. His playing on the album Crest Of A Knave earned him a Grammy award in 1988. As well as numerous Jethro Tull albums, Barre has worked with many other artists including Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Gary Moore, Jo Bonamassa and Chris Thompson and has shared a stage with such legends as Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.
Martin Barre’s new solo album Roads Less Travelled is his 8th to be released, and is a proudly old school set. The album sound is very 70s in that the deafening snare drum of the 80s or the very bright, loud, reverb and delay drenched sound of a modern production are avoided lending the songs a pleasingly woody, dusty vibe which suits them well. Martin Barre wrote the music and also the lyrics which explore more gritty rock themes of struggle, hard work and emotional depths than the random topics in which ex-Tull colleague Ian Anderson sought inspiration.
The playing is great of course, with the guitar playing a match for anything you’ll hear on Planet Rock and with quite a bit more taste than that displayed by average rock widdler. The presence of banjo, mandolin, mandola and a variety of acoustic guitars means the tonal pallet varies nicely from song to song. Variety is also provided by there being three vocalists on the album, band regular Dan Crisp plus Becca Langsford and Alex Hart providing bluesy female contributions. The songs are ripe with riffs, plenty of proper arrangement and lots to discover on repeated listens. It’s folk rock, with an emphasis on the rock and some may call it cross over prog.