What have you been listening to recently? One song that should be on your must-listen playlist is “Red Rivers” by Northern Irish rock singer-songwriter Barry Locke. Why is this song such a magnificent mixture of new and old? Read on to find out!
A Blend of the Past and Present
“Red Rivers” is a tune that blends current alternative/indie rock with a traditional Celtic accent. The alternative/indie rock sound is heard primarily in the instrumentation with an anthemic electric guitar playing two parts in two different sections. During the first chorus, one notices the blazing electric guitar searing notes, playing the main melody in a higher augmentation. The guitar part here adds a nice balance with Barry Locke’s tenor tones.
The second role is played in the latter half of “Red Rivers” as the electric guitar plays supporting notes in a lower range. Whatever the role it may play, the electric guitar does a fabulous job of bringing that anthemic alternative rock sound in “Rock Sound” with each strummed note adding contrast to the vocals as well as the other instrumentations featured.
Now, the “something old” found in “Red Rivers” is the way how Locke intertwines his Celtic roots with folk and alternative rock instrumentations. In the first verse, you can hear this mixture as the singer’s smooth tenor vocals sing the melody in a Celtic singing style. The vocal melody found throughout the song goes up and down a pentatonic scale with Locke pouring soulful emotions into each note. One can also hear microtonal bends throughout, adding more colors in the tones. The Celtic accents found within the tune are perfectly interwoven within the alternative and folk-rock instrumentations to help create an engaging tune full of soul and deep emotions.
With the electric guitar and the vocals, there is a third element that should be mentioned: the acoustic guitar. How the acoustic guitar is played in “Red Rivers” is critical in giving the tune its folk vibe. Bold notes are strummed on the acoustic guitar to start the tune to give it a folk-like vibe. Yet, this instrumentation doesn’t fade away, but moves into a supporting role to the end, still keeping its bold, folk-like tones. How Locke uses the acoustic guitar throughout the tune is well-done as it gives the perfect folk vibe.
The lyrics in “Red Rivers” are just important as the instrumentation and the vocals. According to Locke himself, the song is about “being caught up in the storms of life but learning to sail through them”. This message is interwoven with excellent written similes and allegories that listeners can relate to easily. I just love lyrics like this: “Though my heart bore the lie that grew monsters inside. I turned off the radar and let go of my pride.”
Barry Locke’s “Red Rivers” is a fantastic tune that intertwines old and new in an intriguing way. The anthemic electric guitar gives the tune a more modern rock feel with an enthralling anthemic rock sound. Yet, Locke includes traditional Celtic accents within such melodies performed by vocals and electric guitars. Alongside the Celtic accents and the electric guitar is the folk vibe presented in the acoustic guitar, strumming bold notes throughout the tune. Finally, the lyrics are excellently written as they present similes and allegories that listeners can relate to when trying to navigate through their own personal storms. All of these elements make “Red Rivers” such an excellent tune that should be heard today.
What do you think “Red Rivers” by Barry Locke? Check it out below and tell me what you think in the comments!
About the Artist: Barry Locke
Barry Locke is a 33-year-old singer-songwriter from Bangor, Northern Ireland. Existing somewhere between Alternative Folk, Classic rock and contemporary pop music, Barry Locke is unlike anything you will have heard. Retaining his Celtic accent but delivering soulful, powerful and flexible vocals, Barry gets to the heart. His hooks will catch you for days and his lyrics will stay with you forever.
The singer-songwriter is also part of a collaborative project called The Avenoir Project, who released their debut EP, The Ones We Leave Behind, on November 8th, 2020.
Make sure to follow Barry Locke at the following sites: