Lincoln Barr is a composer, singer, and guitarist currently based in South Carolina. His latest album, Forfeit the Prize – the third full-length release under his own name, following a decade-plus leading Seattle-based pop group Red Jacket Mine – explores destiny, gratitude, and wonder, embellishing his trademark deft songcraft with a sonic palette that blends string-laden Bacharachian grandeur, sophisticated soul, torchy chanson, and dubby, spectral psychedelia.
After a pandemic interlude that saw the release of several boundary-stretching singles, Barr reconvened the core cast from solo debut Trembling Frames for a joyous session in late summer 2021 – guitarist, co-producer, and confidante Johnny Sangster (Neko Case, Braly Sangster, The Tripwires); the “indispensable” and sympathetic drummer John Convertino, one-half of Tucson legends Calexico; nimble bassist and avant-jazz staple Keith Lowe (Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz, Robin Holcomb); and one of Barr’s most vital collaborators over the past decade, keyboard wizard (and nascent string arranger) Daniel Walker – cutting Forfeit the Prize’s ten tracks live to tape over a few days at Sangster’s Crackle & Pop! Studio in Seattle.
For finishing touches, Barr and Sangster enlisted a virtual wrecking crew that included string arrangers Walker (Heart, Amy Ray) and Andrew Joslyn (Mark Lanegan, Seattle Symphony); saxophonist Levon Henry (The Milk Carton Kids, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joe Henry); Chicago-based vocalists Kelly Hogan, Nora O’Connor-Kean, and Casey McDonough (Mavis Staples, Iron & Wine, NRBQ); and longtime ally Jefferson Curtis Brown (Downpilot, Half Rushmore). The album is set for an October 21, 2022 release on Seattle’s Two Roads Records.
In addition to 2017’s Trembling Frames, which chronicled his own childhood trauma and its aftermath, Barr also composed and cast many of the same musicians to record Cruel Dream: Music From and Inspired by The Past is Never Dead, the soundtrack to director Steve E. Turner’s 2019 documentary feature. He plans to perform live in support of Forfeit the Prize throughout 2023.
In the greatest duos, the dynamic between individuals generates a sound all its own. Voices and visions co-mingle completely, alchemizing into a union that transcends “complementary” or “contrasting.”
While musician, producer, and engineer Johnny Sangster, and musician/ songwriter Leslie Braly are both established artists in their own right, the music they make as Braly Sangster owes everything to their chemistry. The twelve songs of Permanent Wave-touch on many styles (“Tease It Out” evokes ’80’s college radio faves like the Replacements’ “Kiss Me On the Bus;” and “I Belong With You” reminiscent of the Everly Brothers’ “Let It Be Me”) yet Braly Sangster always sound - and feel - simpatico throughout this set of original duets. —Kurt B. Reighley
Permanent Wave is the first full-length recording from Braly Sangster; a collaboration between Seattle Musicians Johnny Sangster (Neko Case, Mudhoney, Tripwires) and Leslie Braly (Pineola.) Playful, reflective lyrics; layered harmonies; articulate guitar