When I finally received Barry Hebert’s new CD – “Worn Wooden Floors,” I knew I needed to set aside a full hour to really give it a listen. This recording features some of the best folk rock, country ballads you’ll ever hear. When the acoustic rhythm guitar starts on the opening track “Three Miles Ahead, Fifty Years Behind,” you’re hooked. Barry told me he got the idea for the song after seeing the phrase on a t-shirt.

The musicianship featured here, the quality of the production as well as the timing is so clean you just can’t help but feel the groove. Barry gives a lot of credit to Al Berard who owns the studio in Cecilia, LA. where the CD was engineered and produced. Al also plays mandolin and electric guitar on the recording, giving the entire project a level of professionalism that you’d expect to have come out of Nashville.

The songs on this CD weave stories, through a tapestry of images and melody, and take the listener on an audio landscape journey that is relaxing and fun to listen to. As a songwriter, Barry puts a lot of thoughtfulness into the words he chooses. His lyrics evoke pictures and similes that draw you in. there is no doubt that these songs deserve careful listening.

When I first heard “St. Francisville” with the headphones on, my eyes were closed and all of a sudden, I felt as if I was there, walking barefoot along the river, sitting at a coffeeshop or strolling among the live oaks at The Myrtles Plantation. At first I was puzzled about the album’s title, until I heard the line “where theres’ front porch swings and worn wooden floors, even your first time here, feels like you been here before…” Barry’s talent for song-smithing is terrific. It is obviously a skill that he spent a lot of time and patience to develop. Furthermore, he really has a knack for paying attention to what’s going on around him and keeping his eyes and ears open to phrases and ideas that can inspire a good song.

My absolute favorite track is “Hot Beer, Cold Woman”. This song echoes that typical new country sound you hear on the radio, with the classic electric guitar opening lick, but unlike the commercial tunes, these lyrics really grabbed my attention. When he sings, “With a hot beer and a cold woman, I don’t think I want another round,” I thought how clever that was. I could relate to it. And that’s the thing about this record, each song has the ability to lure and entice you so that you want to listen to the words.

On the track entitled, “Your Tears,” Barry tenderly expresses the emotional joy of falling in love, getting married and experiencing the wonder at seeing a newborn baby. When I first listened to it I thought about the zillions of people throughout earth’s history who have experienced the same thing. And yet, somehow we seem to take for granted these common events, which in the end, turn out to be what matters most. Barry’s ability to hint at the simplest things, such as the little nuances between men and women, is what impresses me the most about his songwriting.

“Rings” is a nice tune too. In the same way, he takes a seemingly common place object and then poetically composes a song around it. This tune is another example that reveals his keen sense of observation. As Barry describes the symbolic significance of things like wedding rings, nose rings, and toe rings and so on, all the while he’s steering the song into a perceptive metaphor about the cyclical nature of life.

Barry Hebert has been professionally involved with music for a long time. In the early years he wasn’t particularly interested in singing, preferring to stand aside and play, but sometime around 1982 he became involved with a country group called the Basin Brothers Band, performing in and around South Louisiana. The group enjoyed some real success, playing the Texas dancehall circuit and eventually touring nationally.

During the last few years, however, Barry has focused more on his own songs. Worn Wooden Floors is a delightful CD and the start of something good. I hope you will take the time to really listen to it. Check out Barry Hebert’s new webpage at www.barryhebertmusic.com

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