"Streams In The Desert - Review"

The opening cut is called Pickin' Up the Pieces and it is a jouncy tune replete with steel guitars, banjo and bass. It has an up-tempo that says this is traveling music. We go from bright city lights to the twilight, but not without a burst of energy and a defiant swagger.

The sound of an old victrola echoes the past in the sad, soft tune Memory Rain. This is one of Michael’s best contemporary pieces and he has captured the bittersweet sense of reminiscences and the pain of loss quite well. It segues almost seamlessly in to the next track Saturation Determination that is a bit more upbeat, but with a no nonsense resolve to get back on track and point us in the right direction. The power of the song also suggests something unstoppable, a force to be reckoned with.

Diamond Hill sounds like a destination song with a lot of fun along the way. The openness of the desert and the bright sunshine mix it up to give us the green light so to speak to open our spirits to new discoveries of the heart and soul.

Better Angels has a New Age feel to it, which was wholly unexpected on the album, but not unwelcomed. Of course that was only in the intro. The flowing guitar piece transformed into a passionate ballad about unseen forces. It is about having bad luck and looking for a helping hand and perhaps getting it.

With a moderate synthesized string background, whining steel guitars and an undulating melody, the title tune Streams in the Desert closes the album. This one is about hope. It is about digging until you find the answer, whether it be water, grace or the realization of your dreams. It is the sound of holding on long enough to satisfying the need. It is not always the case, but Michael saved the best for last.

It has been my experience that the innocuousness of desert streams can be deceiving. Here and there lay patches of green, sometimes sheltering more life than we can see. Washes of sand and rock are exposed, and sometimes the dry streambeds hide precious gems and even gold. Nevertheless, take care, for unexpected flashfloods can wash away even the most solid of barriers. All this is a tribute to the power of Streams in the Desert. For its liveliness and passion, I recommend Michael Barry-Rec's energizing album.

a review by RJ Lannan from Zone Music Reporter