Dave Barrett, a seasoned musician with a twenty-five-year-long music career, has recently released his latest album Stockton Ave. As an accomplished songwriter, Barrett wasn’t sure if he would write another album until inspiration struck. This album, consisting of fourteen songs, feels like a reflection of a man who has experienced the ups and downs of life, with emotions ranging from melancholy to joy and everything in between. 

The album kicks off with the lively and melodic “Dance With Me” showcasing Barrett’s vocal prowess and dynamic delivery. However, it’s on “In The House That Is Empty” where Barrett shines, embracing his somber side with reflective lyrics and a voice that carries the weight of experience. The raw emotion in his voice is palpable, and it’s evident that this is where Barrett’s vocal talent truly flourishes. One of the most striking aspects of Stockton Ave is how Barrett manages to incorporate a variety of musical genres seamlessly, from folk to rock and even some country influences. Each track on the album feels unique, yet they all come together to create a cohesive listening experience that showcases Barrett’s versatility as a musician. 

The mandolin adds a delightful touch to the track, “Simpleton Galore,” and Barrett’s performance is infectious. The album also features powerful and intimate moments, such as “Don’t Come Free In The End” where Barrett’s voice takes on a gritty edge as he sings about not being afraid of societal norms and expectations. The lyrics are thought-provoking and deeply resonant, showcasing Barrett’s ability to capture complex emotions in his songwriting. 

BANDCAMP: https://davebarrett1.bandcamp.com/album/stockton-ave

Barrett’s guitar playing on this album is also exceptional. You can hear this on “Dance On The Sidewalk” which as the title suggests makes you want to dance. I loved this tune which sounds like a combination of Bruce Springsteen and Van Morrison. There’s a feeling of empowerment with this song but it’s also very celebratory. There’s more good times ahead with “Simpleton Galore” which contains a hint of nostalgia and more jovial feelings. The piano playing is fantastic and there are some peaks on this song which really can’t get much higher.

The fiddle on “In The House That Is Empty” complements Barrett’s mournful lyrics perfectly. The last two songs on the album, “What Can Love Do” and “Heroes Of The Day,” are two of my personal favorites for different reasons. “What Can Love Do” is a sweeping ballad with lush strings and Barrett’s vocals on “Heroes Of The Day” exude a sense of patriotism, evoking imagery of the red, white, and blue. 

Throughout Stockton Ave, Barrett’s musical talent shines brightly, pulling at heartstrings with his heartfelt lyrics, captivating vocals, and top quality songwriting. Listening to this album is a moving experience but in many different ways, and I can only hope to catch Barrett performing these songs live someday. He is undoubtedly a gifted musician, and Stockton Ave is a testament to his artistry and dedication to his craft. I hope Barrett continues to create new music for all his new fans because I am now one of them.

Garth Thomas