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Bar 17

3.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 3, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

For Bar 17 , Trey Anastasio's second solo album in over a year, Trey continues his evolution as guitarist, songwriter and improvisationalist to create a kaleidoscope yet cohesive experience, one of his most remarkable albums to date. Joining Trey in the studio were musicians from all eras of Trey's career including members of Phish and various incarnations of Trey's solo band, sting players from his Seis De Mayo project and longtime collaborator John Medeski along with new friends and avant- groovesmiths Benevento/Russo Duo, singer Carmen Keegan (I Nine) and Joan Wasser (Dambuilders, Those Bastard Souls).
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 3, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rubber Jungle Records
  • ASIN: B000HKDEJW
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,099 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I am torn...I have been (and still am) a huge Phish fan, as well as a fanatic for great songwriting. I found Trey's last album, "Shine" to be a great departure for the guitarist...less "jammy", with some great songwriting (best examples: Invisible, Wherever You Find It, Sleep Again, Love That Breaks All Lines).

So, naturally, I'm both excited and interested to hear Trey's newest album, "Bar 17". First impressions..."Wow, this is great, I like the vibe on this album. A lot less packaged sounding than Shine, a lot less restrained." They I listened to it again, and the album's scattered feel started bugging me. It's obvious that he recorded this over 3 years time, because nothing seems to fit together on this album.

There are some amazing songs..."If You're Walking", a jaunty upbeat song with a groove that wouldn't have sounded out of place on a 90's era Grateful Dead record, "What's Done", which just smacks of Pink Floyd (in a good way), "Empty House", some more great acoustic playing, similar to that of "The Inlaw Josie Wales" from Phish's 'Farmhouse' album, "Shadow", an irritaingly catchy yet wonderful series of vocal rounds, piano and strings. Then there are the jams..."Bar 17" features some of Trey's most inventive and inspired soloing I've heard in YEARS! Very surreal and beautiful! Then, "Goodbye Head", which is the most Phish-like track on the record, has great lyrics and a wonderful atonal jam segment...easily the most accessible for fans of Trey's earlier work. "Cincinatti" is also great, lots of horns, mad drumming...fantastic vibe...great album closer.

As for the rest of the songs, I wasn't too thrilled.
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Format: Audio CD
Bar 17 is probably my favorite of Trey Anastasio's solo albums. This is his 3rd official solo studio album since 2000, and his second since Phish officially broke up. Last year's Shine was a big slice of sunny, straight-ahead rock. It was recorded with a single backing band and produced and co-written by studio ace Brendan O'Brien. Bar 17, on the other hand, was recorded over three years and features more than 40 different musicians. It was largely recorded at Trey's rural Vermont studio, The Barn, and mostly self-produced. As an album, it isn't a very cohesive collection of songs. But the songs themselves are nearly all high-quality efforts. It's also the first album of Trey's where some of the songs bear a striking resemblance to Phish. Songs like "Host Across the Potomac," "Goodbye Head," and "Bar 17" stretch past the 6-minute mark and bear the same mixture of highly composed sections and loose jamming solos that were a Phish hallmark. The appearances of Phish drummer and bassist Jon Fishman and Mike Gordon on some of the songs undoubtedly add to that feeling.

Which isn't to say that the album is just a poor attempt to recapture that Phish magic- Anastasio tries a lot of different things here. Considering that Phish spanned nearly every genre imaginable in its 2 decades, it's hard to say that that band wouldn't have attempted any of these songs. But "Let Me Lie" is a simple low-key pop song, "Empty House" is an acoustic guitar song, that recalls folk and bluegrass, and "Cincinnati" features a long, very jazzy horn-based introduction before it kicks into a bright rock song. "Dragonfly" and "Mud City" are more traditional rockers, and "If You're Walking" and "A Case of Ice and Snow" are laid-back tunes that amble along slowly.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD has 13 tracks, is almost 70 minutes long and has excellent sound quality. My copy came in a cardboard digipack. Unlike most digipacks, the tabs that hold the CD have not broken off yet.

Every track starts out wonderfully, with beautiful, energetic music. But, most revert into some bad, inane song. Many of the songs have the same format. About 1 minute of great intro music, 1 and a half minutes of horrible lyrics and mediocre singing with mostly repeated lyrics, and then about 2 to 4 minutes of great music.

You start listening to this CD and it starts out great. But, then the first song is pretty bad after the first minute. So, you skip to the next track and think this is great. But, then it goes into more bad singing. Then, songs 3 and 4 are actually fairly good throughout. But then the rest of the songs fall into the same format of great start, inane singing, great ending.

With editing software, I will cut out the parts I don't like and will end up with a great CD that is about 30 minutes long. (Hey, I bought the CD, I can do anything I want with it, but post it for others to get for free). I would give my new edited CD 5 stars.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been around the block many times with all of Trey's material, from the old days with Phish to the new days without. With a lot of Phish shows, Phish albums, Trey albums, and general music listening under my belt (I'm now 30) I have to say that this is a very solid piece of work by Trey. After approximately 10 listens, I can give Bar 17 a stamp of quality. Overall, this is a rather sad and slow album. The production isn't quite as chirpy as Shine. However, the music is really very good. Listen to the strings on tunes such as "Gloomy Sky" and "Bar 17". How can you not tip your hat to Trey? The man may not play guitar like a 25 year old, but he can still compose a tune that is very much Trey, and very much enjoyable.
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