Hidden Treasure in the Music Department

The Fallen Acrobat (Silber Records)
Jamie Barnes

By Larry Alexander

I met Jamie Barnes at a local bookstore where he works in the music department. I was buying a couple of CDs and we started talking about my music interests. He suggested I might enjoy his work, which apparently does well in Europe, Japan and Sweden but is virtually unknown in his hometown. I got a copy of his disc The Fallen Acrobat and then asked him for a copy of the lyrics. He recorded this in his home in Pewee Valley.

The songs are all original with Barnes writing and composing all but "Anyway." He performs guitar, percussion and every other bit on the album. His music for "Fallen Acrobat" could stand on its own with Jamie's special twists. His music matches his voice to perfection. His lyrics beg thought and often shake emotions. His poetry could stand alone. "Wait for Her" is a masterpiece in spite of the very disturbing finish - but then humans and life are often less than desired.

Jamie asks in "Peaceful Protest," "o they ever get sad in Heaven?/Do tears really make up the sea?/Do martyrs die for lost causes?" Tough questions that need to be asked, especially in these times. "Ambition is Poisonous" challenges the paradox of the American lifestyle stating, "Everyone's always trying to kill off the dandelions/And everyone is scared to death of dying." When I first heard "For Centuries" I thought it was Simon and Garfunkel-that's a compliment. Jamie is, however, even more talented.

I am now a Jamie Barnes fan. His music entertains me, while his words challenge and disturb me. At first, the lyrics bothered me too much. In the 1960s I loved the music and the words challenged and disturbed me; so I guess personal history repeats itself and the phrase from Burning Leaves-"Faces froze, we decompose like burning leaves"-best describes how the majority of the world faces the issues.

My enthusiasm for this man's work is only limited by the 300 words I am allowed. One criticism, however: the lyrics must be published with the CD. His musical talent is superb. I really hope someone in Louisville besides me takes the time to notice the work and bring Barnes to the stage. He should be making music instead of selling music.