Some individuals are so talented that recording and performing with one band isn't enough. Sometimes their muse pulls them in a direction that they find isn't quite appropriate for their main gig, hence what is known as a side project. The Traditionist is such a project and Joey Barro is one such individual.
Not only did Barro graduate with a degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, but he also performed in the Santa Barbara-based band Budge, until they broke up and three-fifths of the band regrouped as the Antiques. Together with bassist Ben Donaldson, drummer Chris Good and later, keyboardist Jason Vivrette and guitarist Josh Hertz, the Antiques issued two EPs--Acoustic EP and At The X--as well as the 2006 full-length effort, Nicknames And Natives.
Yet a funny thing happened when Barro began writing songs for what he thought was going to be the next Antiques' album. He realized it didn't quite fit the mold of that band, so he decided to create a spin-off project. The Traditionist isn't a complete solo effort, but a collaboration of sorts with Barro's long-time pal and tour mate Tim Bluhm, best known as the frotnman of the Mother Hips, but a solo artist in his own right as well. With Bluhm handling the production duties, Barro worked on the songs that make up Season To Season for more than a year. Check out Barro performing "A Sleep Be Told," a track from that album in this video clip courtesy of Luxary Wafers via YouTube.
Under the Traditionist banner, Barro isn't only making interesting music, but he's experimenting with a relatively new business model that's becoming more common as the music business continues its evolution into the digital age. Season To Season was initially issue as a digital-only release through Better Looking Records. A few months later, a physical edition of the album hit the streets via Banter Records. The album includes "I Know My Ocean," which you can sample below. The track reminds me of the recently reunited Feelies, only with a rootsier feel courtesy of the harp and Barro's slightly twangy vocals and guitar flourishes. If you like the song, feel free to right click and hit "save as" to add it to your digital music collection.
If you dig that track, check out the Traditionist's pages the Better Looking Records site. On one page, you can find another side of the act with the moody "Make Believe Tree" and the downbeat "No Self Portrait." On another, return to the Traditionist's more upbeat side with the pop delight of "A Sleep Be Told," the track featured in the video above. If you like those tunes, I strongly suggest you splurge for the whole album. I've got a feeling you won't be disappointed.