The story of Cyril Barrett, at least as his subject relates to this radio show, goes back a while and calls for a bit of back story. Late in 1999, when KISU was still in its initial months of operation and carried no local programming, a CD mysteriously appeared in the studio. It was modest looking, an unflashy black silhouette on brown, and from a personal standpoint I expected little if anything from it. From the first strains of Larry Barrett's The Big Slowdown, however, it was clear there was something else entirely going on (note- Larry Barrett has since taken the name of his father, Cyril). In short, I was completely floored by the album, a simply-recorded, mostly introspective batch of tunes fleshed out by guitar, cello, harmonica, and mandolin as it featured Barrett aided by a group of friends that included Pam Barger (Pretty Mary Sunshine, Two Nice Girls, Frownland), Lori Goldston (Black Cat Orchestra), Emily Marsh (Black Cat Orchestra), and Tucker Martine (production credits for The Decemberists, Laura Veirs, et. al.), among others. Needless to say, the music's been a constant for me over the past seven years or so, and it's enjoyed a generous share of spins on the show during that time.
As for the man behind it, it turns out he was born and raised in Pocatello, though the last quarter century or so found him in Seattle, serving for part of that time at least as the manager of musical watering hole Hattie's Hat. Aside from The Big Slowdown, he's released three other full-lengths on Germany's renowned Glitterhouse label, all of them prior to 1999. A couple of years back, Barrett made the switch to Tucson, Arizona, and a creative scene that finds him rubbing elbows with Howe Gelb, Calexico, and Neko Case, among others. It's an absolute treat today, then, as we're joined by Cyril Barrett in the studio for a performance and interview that represents his only performance in the area this go around. We only had to wait seven years.
Cyril Barrett in Europe, 2003
In House #1863.
Focus: Cyril Barrett live in-studio, plus new music from the Avett Brothers, the Meat Puppets, John Doe, and more.
BONUS MP3s, from today's live set-
...and from The Big Slowdown:
In-studio photos of Cyril Barrett here