Most musicians opt for day jobs as waiters, retail hounds, or administrative whipping boys and girls. Not Just Walden mastermind Danny Ferraro. Before abandoning his civilian life for that of a full-time musician, Ferraro toiled away at Goldman Sachs, trading his keys for a sharp suit.
High Street Barton Blues is the first effort since Ferraro made the jump. Joined by college pal Taylor Eichenseer, the duo made an EP in 2008 before being joined by Taylor’s brother Aaron and childhood. Ferraro’s career, however, took him abroad to London while the rest of the band soldiered on without him. Soon after, Ferraro was driven to madness by a reoccurring dream in which “it was all the members jamming to a song that had this unique, rocking, contiguous sound with the piano as the central rhythm.” It inspired him to pack up, move to Austin, Texas, reunite with his band and make this record.
Fluctuating between psychedelic swirls, billowing piano flourishes and a pulsing, quick-moving pace, High Street Barton Blues is partially influenced by Ferraro’s experience in London and his homecoming in Austin. The racing “Romie Knows” is a Wall-of-Sound-worthy toe-tapper in the best way; its radio-ready beats match note-for-note the pondering and soul-scorching lyrics. “Hole In The Head” is a raw, emotional slow jam on which Ferraro wails over simple instrumentation, while “Lost Friends” and “Lost Friends Pt. II” underscore the themes of seeking and, ultimately, finding.
Overall, the album is a rarity. While introspective, it’s still an “every man” story that never feels pandering or over-dramatic. And it shouldn’t; Ferraro’s got the chops — and backstory — to back up every word he writes.