Music is a universal language to those who can hear.
Today, I am talking about WATCHING JUDAS, a band. This band of young men hails from St. Charles County in Missouri. Yes, I've met them. I'm a musician-singer, and one of the two brothers in WATCHING JUDAS, Eric Barfield, used to play piano in a small group with me and some other musicians. This is not saying that I'm merely claiming that something is good because I know of the group. No, I don't automatically say something is decent: I have standards. WATCHING JUDAS has met those standards on their recording entitled "MARY MEETS SALLY", a CD (which appears to be a very small LP, if you own a copy --- yes, it looks like a RECORD)...well, this CD features a song I feel deserves attention, "LONG WAY FROM EDEN". This track has echoes of many groups, and one can draw your own conclusions with a good mind's eye as to whom has inspired the band to write and record this tune. I haven't asked Eric or Christian Barfield if this was written by one or both brothers, but it does sound like something they would have compiled as part of this overall good recording.
The Barfield brothers were in the studios of KFUO Radio several weeks ago and talked about their efforts. They've also been featured on other radio stations across the region over the past couple of years, and they are embarking on yet another "tour" of venues where they can ply their trade to various audiences, mostly under 60 (but I wouldn't rule out some over-60 people liking this music, too...as there are some sounds on this which remind many of us of late 1960s Beatles music/production).
The produced CD was recorded in Memphis and St. Louis, mixed in St. Charles MO (not to be confused with St. Charles IL, outside of Chicago), utilizing the four main musicians associated with WATCHING JUDAS, Eric and Christian Barfield (both sing, although unless you have heard both in person, it may be difficult to say which one is singing the lead), who play keyboards and synthesizers, Paul Nahrgang on Bass, and young Aaron Wahoff on Drums/percussion. They added family members Mary Barfield on cello and Sarah Wahoff on violin in the recording process. Executive Producer Baird Risdon helped Eric and Michael Barfield (now that's keeping it familiar) in the production of the process for "LISTENING HOUSE" records. And if you're a St. Louis native, you may recognize the setting captured by photographer Edward Crim as the "pickle pans" (that's what I call them) from Bob Cassilly's City Museum in downtown St. Louis. Even with all the local angles and angels (one would think) associated with this recording, it took a lot of personal money from the Barfield family and friends to make "MARY MEETS SALLY" a reality. It is a slice of local music, a slice of American ingenuity, talent bestowed upon these young guys, and part tribute to fans of WATCHING JUDAS that such a recording has been brought out.
I think that if you listen to the music of the past 45 years, you'll find something on this CD to enjoy, so long as you don't care that there are NO guitar riffs. Yes, there are no guitars used in the recording of "MARY MEETS SALLY" (except bass), which means that the production values had to be just a smidge more creative than others have attempted or accomplished. By no means am I attempting to say it singularly outshines Phil Ramone or Phil Spector, Brian Wilson or Brian Eno, but it is ladled with production gravy (sorry, yesterday was Thanksgiving, so the mind drifted to that metaphor) from the very first seconds of the opening title track.
Before it becomes a nationally successful band, I want to proclaim that WATCHING JUDAS is worth watching and hearing. I may not be the very first to think this way --- but I am looking forward to the day when I can say "I remember when WATCHING JUDAS was merely a group of nice young guys looking for a break." I think their break is this CD, and more specifically, the song "LONG WAY FROM EDEN".
Call your local radio station music directors and ask them to play this song. If they give "LONG WAY FROM EDEN" some airplay, hopefully others will request the song and the stations will start adding the tune to their playlists. At that point, WATCHING JUDAS will no longer be a well-kept secret to those of us who have already heard them.
Check out WATCHING JUDAS at http://www.watchingjudas.com as well as http://twitter.com/watchingjudas
Oh...and Watching Judas is also on myspace and have a few videos on youtube.