Review by Sylvie Marie & Staff
Barbara J. is a cover song artist whose song selections are from the soundtrack of her life. A singer all her life, from choirs, to weddings, to musical theater, to bands, Barbara finally decided to record her first LP, covering the songs of Canadian folk/pop artist, Gordon Lightfoot. “Sundown – A Gordon Lightfoot Retrospective© (2014)” was produced by Jim Reilley, an incredibly gifted songwriter and guitarist in his own right, and cofounder of The New Dylans, a folk rock band whose work has been recognized by Rolling Stone, Village Voice, and The Tennessean. Recorded at Eastwood Studios, in Nashville, TN, with the help of some of Music City’s finest musicians, the album saw good success via cd sales, downloads, and lots of internet radio airplay, with singles airing in rotation alongside artists from Joan Baez, Simon & Garfunkel, Karen Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, and Linda Ronstadt. The first single released off the album, “All the Lovely Ladies" was awarded the “Best Song—Folk” Award from the Akademia Music Awards. Other tracks were featured on various podcasts with Women of Substance Radio. Two releases are currently charting nationally, and worldwide, on NumberOneMusic.com.
Barbara J.'s breathtaking rendition of "If You Could Read My Mind Love" is sublime. At the center of the track's instrumental landscape is the gorgeous guitar fingerpicking of Jim Reilley. The warm and intricate guitar gives the song an intimate mood. Reilley's delicate guitar playing glistens as his nimble fingers yeild moving arpeggio's and tasteful solos. Keeping the song acoustic was the right choice.
Over the folk guitar, Barbara J offers a subdued vocal performance with rich, alto vocals reminincent of Karen Carpenter. Barbara has a laid-back and natural approach that never pushes or pulls too hard; instead she allows the introspective lyrics and beautifully crafted melodies of Gordon Lightfoot to unfold with grace and tenderness.
Barbara has deep respect for the story she is singing and reveals the words like meaningful poetry to be heard and relished, over and over. Her lush vocals wash over you as her gentle interpretation seeps under your skin and into your soul.
Written by Gordon Lightfoot and released in 1969, Barbara chose this song because it reminded her of a time and place in her youth when it was being played on the radio As an adult, she has come to appreaciate the song's complex emotions about love and loss.
"If You Could Read My Mind" is timeless. The lyrics vividly describe the feeling of being unable to escape the chains of heartache.
"If you could read my mind, love, What a tale my thoughts could tell. Just like an old time movie, ' Bout a ghost from a wishing well. In a castle dark or a fortress strong, With chains upon my feet. You know that ghost is me. And I will never be set free, As long as I'm a ghost that you can't see,"
Barbara sings the song the way the writer intended it to be performed. She captures the the emotional resignation of a lost love in a way that allows the listener to hear a soul that is reflective and sad. "I never thought I could feel this way, and I've got to say that I just don't get it. I don't know where we went wrong, but the feeling's gone and I just can't get it back."
In "If You Could Read My Mind" from her album, A Box Full of Records, Barbara J. brings us to a place where songs from our youth are met with wisdom in our adulthood. In hearing this song brought back to life, listeners who knew this song fondly from their youth will find that it resonates even deeper in adulthood. With exceptionally tasteful musicianship and an intimate and gentle vocal performance, Barbara J. 's rendition of "If You Could Read My Mind" is beautiful and haunting.
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