The Barlow is a band that describes its sound as “Colorado Country.” It is a healthy blend of outlaw country, Americana, and a fair amount of rock. In their time as a band, one band The Barlow has supported is Austin honky tonkers Mike and The Moonpies among other acts. That particular pairing had quite an influence on the band’s new album Horseshoe Lounge. Moonpies member Zachary Moulton is featured on pedal steel while Mike Harmaier himself is featured on vocals on the closing track.
Of the new album, the band said, “We have all been friends since high school, and this is the record we’ve always wanted to make. We’re excited about the evolving songwriting, performance, production, and overall growth of the band. “
The album opens with “Hard Lovin’”, a high-energy ripper that is a good way to kick off the album. This one is a good blend of outlaw country and rock, which comes through especially in the guitar. There is even something of a Muscle Shoals sound with addition of the organ. One thing is for sure: if you were seeing this band live, this would be the perfect way to open the show.
It doesn’t take long to realize the similarity to another Colorado country band: Drag the River. You can hear it in the country-soaked melodies and the raspy harmony vocals. You can also hear it in the lyrics, which are filled with vivid imagery. “Fixin’ to Run” for example contains some lyrics that could just as easily have been written by the guys in Drag the River. In the song, Shea Boynton sings, “Something about a stranger’s kiss and a beer joint, Lord, I can’t resist.” The lyrics aren’t just similar in theme to what you’ll hear in a Drag the River song. This band also has the ability to get you to sing along with every word once you’ve heard the album a few times.
This album isn’t just a good blend of sounds. It’s also a good blend of tempos. “Ain’t Ever Comin’ Round” is one that is sure to get couples two stepping while “Gallows” is a song that is made for slow dancing.
The band has every right to be excited about the evolving songwriting and growth that they are seeing. This album is a showcase for good songwriting and melodies that are great for singing and dancing along.
Photo credit: Dennis Lane