His music has reached millions of people. Yet he's always happy
to share a simple evening of songs and stories in an intimatefolk
He writes songs about children. And criminals. He writes music
about golf. And Norman Vincent Peale. He struggled for years, scrapping
for gigs (and, in his words, "driving for checks") only
to become the proverbial "overnight
sensation" in a field he'd never dreamed of storming.
In the smiling face and surging talent of David Barrett, paradox
has found a happy home. "It all starts with a guitar in my
lap," says the ever self-effacing Barrett whose solitary musical
musings have brought him into the national spotlight. That guitar
in that particular lap has yielded
hundreds of songs—some of which have ended up in unlikely
Barrett recalls, "In 1985, I was visiting a friend in New
York City who just happened to write for Sports Illustrated. We
were watching the NBA Finals, talking about sports and life and
I remembered that I had written this song about sports and achievement,
so when I got home I sent it to him. He took it over to CBS without
me knowing, and they called me up out of the blue.”
The song, of course was “One Shining Moment”—the
paean to endeavor that now crowns the NCAA Basketball Finals, dampening
every eye in the arena. A new version, sung by Luther Vandross,
pushes the song’s power to a new height.
That initial coup opened a floodgate of opportunities for Barrett,
who now composes regularly for television: the Olympics, the U.S.
Tennis Open, ABC, the CBC… but it isn’t all sports events.
He recently won a silver medal at the New York Film festival for
a hip-hop song in “Don’t Cross that Line”—a
short film about gambling and student athletes. And he won an Emmy
for scoring a PBS documentary on the writer C.S. Lewis.
“I wish I could say it was career planning, but it's not.
It just worked out that way and I'm grateful,” says Barrett.
Yes, this is one folksinger with the ultimate day job. But strip
away the scores and TV glitz and major networks on phone, and you're
back to basics: a handsome guy singing provocative, hauntingly beautiful
songs, and playing the hell out of that guitar in his lap.
That guy’s latest album, It’s a Long, Long Story, is
a lot more
than a compendium of ten new David Barrett songs. It's a crash course
in sunsets, innocence and the horrors of child abuse. It tackles
lost love, high comedy and the physics of life. It'll take you there
and back, cradled safely in melody. The album, (on End Around Records)
is quintessential Barrett: beautiful, understated and true. When
he’s not on the phone with major networks, Barrett’s
on the road, taking these songs and more to concert venues all over
David Barrett: high-power commercial composer, low-tech folk club
songwriter... Hey, what's a little paradox among friends?