Barna Howard

This has taken far too long and, as such, I won’t bugger on about it for too long. Sufficed to say, Barna Howard’s self-titled debut album came out, it’s brilliant, you should buy it. Every review I’ve seen so far has compared him to a different revered folk guiter-pickster, which can only be a good thing – I’ll be sticking with my strident Dylan comparison for now, but if you remind every listener of someone else amazing, you’re doing something very, very well.

The album itself delivers on the first single’s promise; a collection of sparsely recorded, maudlin tales that manage that difficult line between the personal and the universal. Reminiscences on fading careers, lost family and heartbreak that are easy to relate to, but difficult to dissociate from the singer. It’s an odd thing, really, because after an album of songs that could so easily be described in exactly the same way (nasally-voiced man with guitar sings sad song), there’s not a moment of the repetition I feel in far more dynamic bands’ albums. There’s something innately special in someone confident enough to put out an album like this and to pull it off so spectacularly.

Unfortunately, there’s no embedding available for anything other than the first single, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it is. Get this listened to immediately.

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I felt like death during this show so I filled full of music that meant I didn’t have to talk. Luckily, that meant Meursault got a double bill and lots of big, long songs got some nice airing out. Depending on whether you’re me or not, that could be a good thing.

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Well that certainly was a week with no posts. Here’s an hour of spectacular folk music to compensate.

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Last week’s Folk Bloke, for all my moaning about a lack of good new tracks for me to play, actually had some really cool stuff on it. From CSLSX’s sampling of Mountain Man in what’s essentially an ’80s electronic track to Barna Howard’s spectacular Bob Dylan impression alongside new singles from First Aid Kit and Lambchop and old tracks from Andrew Bird and Kill It Kid, it was, basically, enjoyable. Click play above to experience said enjoyment.

CSLSX – Aeromancer feat. Mountain Man

Barna Howard sounds like Bob Dylan. There, that’s out the way.

Now, this Portland-based singer-songwriter grew up in a number of –

Well, I mean, it’s not though, is it? You can’t just compare someone to Dylan and leave it to lie. It’s bugging me, so it must be bugging you. Let me try and elucidate: What I mean when I say that he sounds like Bob Dylan is that HE SOUNDS JUST LIKE BOB DYLAN. I don’t know how he’d feel about the comparison, given that his promo material lists Bert Jansch, Townes Van Zandt and Neil Young as his major influences and, sure, there’s shades of Young in his intonations and Van Zandt in the gently rolling style of his guitar playing (not sure about the Jansch, though) but you will always hear that slight nasal snarl, the muted delivery of poetic, personal lyrics and then YOU WILL HEAR BOB DYLAN.

Luckily, it’s not quite an impression – there’s enough of an unfamiliar accent in the vocals, enough individualistic beauty in the words to realise that this isn’t someone simply trading off of an image, some component piece of a legend. Actually, when you can, finally, remove yourself from the reality that BARNA HOWARD SOUNDS JUST LIKE BOB DYLAN, this is fucking excellent. Really, really good stripped back Americana stuff that should get you very excited about his forthcoming debut album (out on 21st February through Mama Bird Recording Company). Especially if you like Bob Dylan.

Barna Howard – Promise, I Won’t Laugh