News & Reviews - Archive

Old Wood Barn

By Rob Bleetstein
June 14, 1996

Joel Rafael has been kicking around the San Diego area for some time, but now, with the release of Old Wood Barn, it appears he has really hit his stride. Rafael's songwriting earned him the New Folk Songwriter award at last year's Kerrville Folk Festival. His voice brings the listener right to the heart of the subject at hand. The up front acoustic guitar brings songs like "Meanwhile The Rain" and " Ballad Of Bellingham " to life. Dan Navarro contributes harmony vocals to the lovely "I'll Be Travelling," and "Horse Thief Creek" is a pleasant ride with an outdoor feel.

Old Wood Barn is full of stories that, like many great folk songs, get handed down from one generation to the next. Rafael's daughter Jamaica plays fiddle throughout the album giving it an authentic generational feel. This is one barn that should stay standing in lieu of a strip mall or golf course.

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