Steve Barton Makes Rare Live Solo Appearance for 'Wesley Stace's Cabinet of Wonders'
Whether it's pure pop or moody acoustic ballads, singer/songwriter/guitarist, Steve Barton, has developed a reputation for crafting some of the most literate and poignant music in underground rock. In addition to being a founding member of the revered punk/psychedelic band Translator, perhaps best known for the Barton-penned song "Everywhere That I'm Not", he has released several solo albums - "The Boy Who Rode His Bike Around The World", "Charm Offensive", "Flicker Of Time", "Gallery", "Projector" and the one-off duo album with Translator's drummer Dave Scheff, "New Blue World". The seventh and latest, "Tall Tales and Alibis", is a sprawling triple album tour de force filled with Steve's brand new songs, which was released in March by Sleepless Music.
To celebrate the release of the record, Barton will be making a rare live solo acoustic appearance next Friday, 9/21 at City Winery for their acclaimed series, "Wesley Stace's Cabinet of Wonders". Called "one of the finest nights of entertainment this city has to offer" by "The New Yorker", the Cabinet, created by John Wesley Harding, has been performed in theaters around the country and around the world. The 9/21 show will also feature Dave Hill, Megan Stielstra, Syd Straw, Teddy Thompson, Daniel Torday, and others.
Formed in Los Angeles in 1979, and relocating to San Francisco in 1980, Translator, which released four albums on the 415/Columbia label between 1982 and 1986 and continues to this day with all four original members, released their most recent album, "Carriage Of Days", in 2017. Barton moved to Portland two years ago, where he wrote "Tall Tales And Alibis". He says, "It is an incredibly good place for me to live - as soon as I got settled in, songs just started to pour out of me. Originally, I wanted to release three separate records on the same day. That idea morphed into one triple set. If it were a movie, it would be my technicolor daydream shot in black and white".
The three albums which make up "Tall Tales And Alibis", each have their own unique feel. It was described by "Blurt" scribe Lee Zimmerman as, "An obvious opus, it's Barton's version of the 'White Album' as far as the diversity of ideas is concerned, and yet it's all the more impressive considering the fact that he wrote the majority of the songs, wholly produced the first two discs and played the most of the instruments single handedly." On the first two records, which Barton produced at his studio in Portland, he plays and sings everything. Album One is filled with the more upbeat songs, and the first of three piano songs. Album Two captures a moody vibe - sung in Barton's lower register. There is a cover of the Sinatra standard "In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning", and a slow quiet dark version of Steve's Translator hit "Unalone". The third album, which was recorded in LA, is a band album (who played live in the studio for the entire record), with a core group hand-picked for these sessions. The record features Dave Scheff from Translator on drums; Pete Thomas from Elvis Costello & The Attractions on drums for three of the songs; Nelson Bragg (Brian Wilson band) on percussion; Derrick Anderson (Bangles) holding down the bass; and co-producers of the third album, Marvin Etzioni and Willie Aron on guitars, keyboards and vocals. The record features a cool cover of the Rolling Stones' "Dandelion".