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Geoff Bartley – Put the Big Stone Down


So yesterday I explored the Folk DJ Chart from the top down. I listened to the top two albums Geof Bartley’s album Put the Big Stone Down which occupied the top spot and Abigail Washburn’s City of Refuge at number two. I skipped the two albums tied for third Jonathan Byrd’s Cackalack and The Honeydew Drops since I already have written about Byrd’s album and I liked The Honeydew Drops also. I went straight to number five and Carrie Elkins Call I my Garden. I enjoyed all three albums but Bartley and Elkins albums were the favorites with Washburn catching up after the last listen to her album!

Geoff Bartley is an artist whose name I have seen but whose music I never really explored (all together now too much music, too little time!) Put the Big Stone Down is Bartley’s ninth album. From his wesbite:

Geoff writes, “My music is a mix of blues, folk and roots jazz. I play fingerstyle acoustic guitar and harmonica to support my bluesy baritone “singing”. I’m also getting better…slowly… with traditional bluegrass and old-time flatpicking styles

I’ve opened for or shared festival workshop stages with Doc Watson, Richard Thompson, Tom Rush, Jorma Kaukonen, Dr. John, Odetta, Leo Kottke, The Persuasions, Leon Redbone, and others. In my younger days I played up-down-and-sideways across the US but wasn’t able to make a sustainable living at it. Now I play almost exclusively in southern New England and actively support local music.

Read more here

That may go a long way to explain why I’ve never heard much about him! Anyway I really love this album. There’s some great guitar playing on all the songs but especially on the instrumental tracks like “”Occam’s Razor” and “Trickle Down Theory”. It is to see why he’s an award winning guitarist! But then there’s the songs! I found myself singing “Put the Big Stone Down” as I went into the Post Office this morning! I also love “The Losing Part” which really struck home as I listened yesterday, especially as I face this time of quasi-unemployment and looking back over my career and career choices. Here’s the opening verse and chorus:

you can climb a whole lot of stairs when you’re younger,
you can get along on nothing when you’re making a start,
you can eat brown rice and hope with time on your side,
ah, but it gets much harder when you get to the losing part,when it never came true,

never happened to you,
it just slowly faded away.
till it broke your heart,
some dreams die hard,
some are living yet,
sooner or later you get,
to the losing part.

(Here’s the link to his store)

Other great tracks include: “The Cat Song” Lyrics and if you have cats you know he sings the truth! oh, again they’re all great that’s why it’s the number 1 album! So check it out! Here’s what Tom Paxton has to say about the album. Good enough for me!!!

“So you’ve been looking for real. You like it with the bark still on it, doncha? Look no further: Geoff Bartley’s Put the Big Stone Down is right in the middle of the tradition (and) classy all the way. I love it.” ~ Tom Paxton (January 26, 2010)

Here’s Geoff with “Everything They Told Me was a Lie” Time for a dinner break back later with Carrie and Abigail!