The Missing Pages
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., July 10, 2015
On his second solo effort, The Missing Pages, Lee Barber confirms he's not like everybody else. As with the New Orleans native's acclaimed 2009 bow Thief and Rescue, he painted the cover art, which all by itself will stop you in your tracks. Everything in its wake qualifies as singer-songwriter stuff, but it's just as distinctive, offbeat, and lyrical. The South Austinite's visions are fleeting, at times theatrical, at others jazzy. Alongside his producer and champion Brian Beattie, he accumulates quite the cast of local characters to bring his songs to life, including Sahara Smith, Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Dana Falconberry, Grace London, Craig Ross, and Dony Wynn. He delivers stories with the same wry affectation as James McMurtry, yet his songs bear the poetic artistry of Terry Allen. "Singing Boy Preacher" finds Barber at his most rocking, the sax-laden "Bicycle Hour" approaches soul, and "Cactus Tree" prickles desert blues. A musician, sure, but Lee Barber makes clear with The Missing Pages that he's first and foremost an artist.