Artist: Chris Barron
Album: Angels and One-Armed Jugglers
Label: Chrysanthemum Songs
Release Date: 10.20.2017
Chris Barron, known for his work with the Spin Doctors, has released Angels and One-Armed Jugglers. The album contains 11 originals based in the acoustic sounds of soft rock, Americana, blues, Broadway, and the core of solo performances. Barron wrote the tunes alone on his acoustic guitar, so each track is built around the sound of guitar and vocals. That is not to say that each track is not filled with instrumentation, the sessions features Saturday Night Live drummer Shawn Pelton, bassist Jesse Murphy and an array of NYC players. Angels and One-Armed Jugglers is co-produced by Roman Klun and focuses on songs and their organic unfolding, no matter what rules or structure that may violate, it is the essence of that sound that procreates his latest album.
Barron found himself overcoming a medical issue: with a paralyzed vocal cord he lost his voice. He became the one-armed juggler. Following a medical hiatus, Barron is back and writing and singing with a new-found sense of urgency. The title track opens the set and is a good example of his no-nonsense songwriting approach. His soft voice starts the tune with the only accompaniment well-placed guitar strums. The band soon joins, and the story unfolds. With tasteful horn backgrounds, well-placed band hits and a relaxed feel that lets Barron’s voice give us the goods, the listen is worth the wait.
“Raining Again” has a nice moving bass line and interesting lead guitar fills. The vocal harmonies in the chorus is a nice touch. This soft-rock selection has the perfect combination of Barron’s eclectic style, which fuses memorable choruses, with heartfelt lyrics that are connected by storytelling verses.
Barron has no intention of leaving the Spin Doctors, he just needed a place to express himself with musical concepts that would not fit the band’s sound. This is an enjoyable collection of tunes that is communicative and visionary in its wide styles and settings. It is nice to hear Barron pull off the feat of being a one-armed juggler. Long live the juggler.
— Sylvannia Garutch