Mark Barnes – The Path Review


Listening to Mark Barnes’ album “The Path” makes me think of Henry David Thoreau’s famous quote: “There is only one path to Heaven. On Earth, we call it Love”. Barnes transforms everyday moments into beautiful and inspiring music. He describes events we all can relate to; romantic love, remembering a friend, the feeling of being lost and more. “The Path” is a magnificent and heartwarming album both for active listening or in the background. 

Mark Barnes is a multi-award winning composer and musician. He won the 2008 Independent National Artist of the year award from the Phoenix Music Awards – and his work on the music for the Docu-Drama “City of Dreams” with Carol Connors won the Best Theme Song at the 2011 TCI Film Festival. Barnes has recorded 11 albums, the most recent being “Music” (2015), “In the Beginning” (2016) and “Once Upon a Time” (2017). “The Path” was released in October last year.

The Path
The title track is a welcoming album opener. The piano sounds grand and powerful, wonderfully backed by distant strings. It is a fabulous melody that captures every aspect of the album’s theme; love, loss and times gone by. The piece is a little more than three minutes long, but that time is incredibly well spent. It sets the atmosphere for the whole album and leaves us wanting more. One word: bravo! But don’t take my word for it. Check it out yourself:

Next out is “Through the Eyes of a Child”. It is a jewel, brilliantly describing both the magic and the vulnerability of childhood. George Winston or Peter Kater couldn’t have done it any better. It is so gentle. Notice how Barnes makes every note count; It is inspired.

Remembering a Friend
Just when I thought it could not get any better, “Remembering a Friend” comes on – perhaps the finest piece on the album. Here is an atmosphere and theme we all can relate to; we all have long-lost friends and remembering them bring back good memories – and a portion of sadness too. The piece balances both emotions splendidly. Moving on, the album gets even more thoughtful with “Misty Mornings”. By looking at the black-and-white cover photo while listening, we can sense that Barnes is doing a fabulous job portraying the atmosphere of delicate morning fog.

“Painted Lady” is an elegant piece, making us reflect on life centuries ago, locked forever on the canvas. Classical music influences are right on the surface – which is also the case with “Benedicta Tu in Mulieribus”, a section from Ave Maria: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee”. Fans of Mark Barnes will know that there are many religious references in his music, most apparent on his album 2016 album “In the Beginning”.

Give Me Shelter from the Storm
“Give Me Shelter from the Storm” and “Grand Central” are like a bridge between the more classical “Painted Lady” and “Benedicta Tu in Mulieribus”, and the more contemporary “I’ll Love You to the Moon and Back” and “Dreaming of You”. You can sense the love in every part of the five minutes long piece “Give Me Shelter from the Storm”. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking for the replay button. “Grand Central” shows that Barnes has a firm grip on classical music. That he has worked with TV and music scores is easy to tell.

It is impossible not to be moved by “I’ll Love You to the Moon and Back”. It is a heartwarming romantic ballad, fading effortlessly into “Dreaming of You”. It is a piece perfect for a cozy afternoon in front of the fireplace or a dinner with the people you love. “Just One” is somewhat different. It sounds like a harpsichord – which is a nice variation in sound.

The ending of “The Path” is quite reflective. “Uncharted Realms” is easily one of the finest pieces on the album. “Snowbound” takes us into deep snow, but I’m happy to report that it ends on a high note. If you close your eyes, the snow-clad landscape comes to life before your inner eye. This music is very visual.

In conclusion: I find that music composed when reminiscing often has a thought-provoking quality. The memories of the artist and the listener are not the same, of course, but the atmosphere of the music makes thinking easier. “The Path” by Mark Barnes is a wonderful trip down memory lane. It is a collection of well-crafted and delightful melodies, “Remembering a Friend” and “Misty Morning” being my personal favorites. I also love the tasteful arrangement, giving the pieces a neoclassical touch. I wholeheartedly recommend “The Path” to everyone in search of an inspiring album. It is a path well taken.

Score: 95/100. See our scoring policy

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