Bradley's Barn

Bradley's Barn

Fans of Gram Parsons’ effect on the Byrds will find warm familiarity with the concept of folk rockers going twangy. But 1968’s Bradley’s Barn actually sounds more akin to Monkee Michael Nesmith’s pioneering recordings with the First National Band. They cut Bradley’s Barn in Music City enlisting A-list guns like Jerry Reed on guitar, bassist Norbert Putnam and drummer Kenneth A. Buttrey almost a year before Dylan rolled tape on Nashville Skyline with the same guys. “Turn Around” opens with a resonator guitar picking and sliding over mellifluous acoustic arpeggios as sunny bumpkin lyrics add pastoral poetry — the tune was even covered by the Everly Brothers on their own 1968 country-rock album Roots. The catchy “Deep Water” proved to be another standout with its vibraphone touches and tinges of chamber pop contrasting nicely with rootsy Americana instruments. And while the implementation of a string section on “Cherokee Girl” makes for the prettiest number; their take on Randy Newman’s “Bless You California” is an awesome way to bookend an album.

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