Don’t ever let Barton Gill hear you say that funk is dead. He’ll bust out a funk song that he just wrote and prove you wrong. This CD is a battle between 70’s funk music and Modern Era rock music. It’s an odd mix, but it provides some good results.
Most of Gill’s work is lead by acoustic with electric accompaniment. This is especially evident on the rock tracks, all of which are veritable epics of songwriting skill. “Farther From”, the rocking centerpiece of this album, features a haunting melody, innovative guitar lines, and an infectious amount of charisma. Those qualities are apparent all over the disc, from the modern rock of “Reach Out” to the moderate tempo closer “Lovely Armageddon”. Even in his funky pieces (the aptly titled “Funky Fresh”, “Believe”, “See You Now”) good songwriting is evident, as none of them are too harsh on the ears. Only one is ‘true funk’ though, the rest are hybrids, which improves things even more. The vocals aren’t too harsh on the ears either, as they are crooning and mellow in some places, pulsing and emotive the next, but always strong and sure. “Farther From” is the most obvious choice for “Best Vocal Performance”, but “Reach Out” isn’t too far off.
Barton Gill has one foot firmly in the past, and one foot firmly in the present. His songwriting skill is top-notch, though, giving these seven songs life where there shouldn’t be life, and interest where no interest is due. A songwriter with a functioning internal editor, a good voice, talent, and variety is definitely something to watch for, and Barton Gill fits all those categories very well.