Seasoned teacher, session artist, touring pro, lecturer, all-round knower of the guitar: Kris Barras can definitely play. And sing, as he proves on this self-penned record. With cool, 90s-style Bon Jovi raspiness – and a slick stock of chops to suit all moods – Barras makes a passionate stamp on his own terms.
The only trouble is, you can tell he’s spent more time teaching than writing. Much of the album plays like an instructional CD – a good one, but still, not the exercise in strong songwriting you’d hope for. I Don’t Want The Blues sounds like a rudimentary backing track you’d find on a good YouTube channel, while Rocky Road is textbook scale-traversing, modern blues box-ticking material (‘One thing I know, love is a rocky road,’ he croons, in blooze-by-numbers style).
There are quality ingredients here: just pay more attention to the tunes next time.