Home > Uncategorized > James Barrett and The Price of Comfort

James Barrett and The Price of Comfort

Most of my friends are friends through music.

Guys and girls who sing and play and write and support each other. The kind of people you can count on when the chips are down. You meet one….and through them meet another….and on and on it goes until the entire community is intertwined and cheering each other on. Maybe it’s not like this in other places. But here it is. And for that I’ll always be grateful.

jamesMy friend James Barrett just released a stunning record called “The Price of Comfort“. It’s his first full length record after putting out a series of EPs.

I’ve known James since he was a teen. I know his wonderful family. He’s always been mature beyond his years (he’s all of 22 now), and uncommonly driven. He’s got a sound in his head, and he refuses to compromise until he can find it. His earlier releases came close, but there was always something missing….life experiences maybe. Or maybe just more wood-shedding sessions in the basement. It’s this record that he’s been searching for all these years. There’s nothing half-assed here. Nothing that sounds casually tossed-off. You can tell that even though we call these things labors of love…..it’s easy to forget that the labor comes first. The love you gotta work for.

This isn’t a record review. Music is in the ear of the beholder…..and just because I think a song like “The First Days of July” is a stunning piece of work doesn’t mean you’re gonna think so too. But maybe it’ll intrigue you enough to check it out….which is all I’d hope for. Because I was writing songs when I was 22, and I can assure you they didn’t sound like these songs…..and that I wasn’t writing and singing world-weary lyrics like this…

I think you’re scared and coming of age 
petrified of debts we’ll pay
the cost of living accelerates 
but believe in me I’m not afraid 

I’m not sure this kid is ever gonna stop. I know the type….from looking in the mirror. This is his stake in the ground. It’s not the end of the journey, but merely the beginning. It’s the type of record he’ll look back on when he’s my age and say, “yea….I’m not sure I can still do that….”

It’s a neat feeling being there from the beginning. Or so it seems. Watching this kid searching……being influenced by this or that band for sure, but knowing deep down that while he could borrow, he wasn’t gonna steal. It was all gonna get tossed into that pot of stew, and once the stirring was done, what was left was gonna be original. It was gonna be, unmistakably, his own vision. His own sound. And that’s thrilling sure, but also dangerous. Like being told you have to drive without be allowed to use the brakes.

If he can put together a band that can duplicate this sound, (James plays everything here but the drums) I may be seeing less and less of him around NEPA.

This is an intensely personal record that sounds universal…..a record that doesn’t divulge itself after one or two listens. It’s music you can run with.

I’ve watched this kid grow up….and I really didn’t have to. All I needed to do was listen….from then until now.

Nice work kid. Now what’s next?

In a bit..


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