Bev Barnett & Greg Newlon’s combination of modern folk and country blends with a hint of smooth jazz for a sophisticated, contemporary sound that gets up and walks. Harmony-rich, guitar-driven and intelligent... this is contemporary music for grown ups.
New CD, Any Doorway Will Do, to be released June 2007.
By Carol Swanson
Sometimes, I get a pregnant feeling of anticipation about a CD long before I ever hear a note. There's something about the cover, the liner notes' and Website descriptions, the artists' demeanor--just every little thing conveys the message that Starry, Starry Night is a truly special album. And indeed it is.
For folk music junkies, this is heaven on earth, the mother lode. Bev Barnett and Greg Newlon are two kindred souls who found each other across a sparkling universe. The liner photo tells the story--Greg and Bev leaning their faces together, with a heavy line of old-fashioned, large-bulb Christmas lights strung across their shoulders. These two communicate on all sorts of levels, and the music reflects that superb chemistry.
The music is acoustic, well-crafted, creative, homey, and stunningly delicious. Starry, Starry Night features 10 numbers, including two outstanding guitar instrumentals and four very exciting originals. The title cut presents the Christmas story; Bev's warm yet transparent vocal tones tell the tale, simply and beautifully. On "Everybody's Singin' 'bout Christmas," the mood is upbeat, feel-good, rockin' country. "Forget About Me" is a cautionary tale about remembering those in need (with terrific a cappella harmonies near the end). All of these original numbers have true merit, but the star debutante is the remarkable "If I Can't Sing with You This Christmas," with compelling lyrics ("Sitting by the fire I got a chill when I heard you say/ you might not make it back by Christmas Day"), achingly lovely harmonies, and a memorable melody that will carry you away. Starry, Starry Night has just three well-known holiday tunes, and two of these are the instrumentals. All of the puzzle pieces fit incredibly well, forming a rewarding folk music landscape that is well worth a visit.
Kudos to Bev Barnett and Greg Newlon for executing this excellent album! Starry, Starry Night will motivate flocks of eager folk music aficionados to look heavenward this holiday season.