Album Review :
Dave Barnes - Stories To Tell

By in Reviews | Comments closed

Artist: Dave Barnes
Release: Stories to Tell
Label: Razor and Tie Records
Release Date: March 2012
Reviewed By: BMer

Track Listing:

  1. White Flag
  2. How Long
  3. Mine to Love
  4. Heaven Help Me
  5. Love Will Be Enough For Us
  6. Seventeen
  7. Missing You
  8. Find Your Way Home
  9. Stories To Tell
  10. Warm Heart in a Cold World
  11. One Of Us

Singer / Songwriter Dave Barnes releases his fifth full-length album titled Stories To Tell on Razor & Tie Records. This is Dave’s fourth release on Razor & Tie, his last album What We Want, What We Get was a critical success. Not only did his single “God Gave Me You” get him a spot acting (as himself) on All My Children, but country music star (and TV’s The Voice personality) Blake Shelton picked up the song and recorded his version of it, getting Barnes a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song. All of this apparently prompted Barnes to pick up from his hometown of Nashville and head out to Los Angeles for the first time to record his latest album, Stories To Tell.

The typical formula for a Dave Barnes album consists of whimsical, danceable tracks like “Little Lies” (What We Want, What We Get) and “Brothers and Sisters” (Me + You + The World) to more heartfelt, warm tracks like “God Gave Me You” (What We Want…) and “Until You” (Me + You…). Stories To Tell follows that layout, opening with the first single “White Lies”, an almost too poppy starter to the album. It’s obvious that Barnes added more gimmicks and pop influences to his music this go-around which might appeal to new fans, but longtime fans might be missing the simplicity of the past. What remains constant though is Dave’s tendency to write songs that just make people wanna dance and have fun, tracks like the soulful “Heaven Help Us” with it’s bluesy piano, and “Missing You” – the stuff made for those carefree summer drives.

While the exterior may have changed somewhat, Dave Barnes’ optimistic, humble message remains strong. From the excellent storytelling on “Love Will Be Enough For Us” where Dave paints a picture of a relationship anyone would long for “You and me baby in the daffodils, kids growing up in the rolling hills, and love will be enough for us.”. One of the standout tracks, “Seventeen”, is really unforgettable. From the driving beat to the excellent melody line that will be the line that sticks with you long after you’ve listened to Stories to Tell. Lyrically the song is just great, speaking of a rough relationship back in the teenage years. Musically Dave gets his chance to once again feature his subtle R&B/dance songwriting skills that seem to show up on every album.

Dave sings about issues relevant to his life, from preparing to be a father on “One Of Us” to learning from mistakes and having the maturity to accept responsibility and apologize on “White Flag”. But what Dave Barnes has done so successfully throughout his career is weave his faith into his songs on a subtle, but effective level. From his humble beginnings as a leader at YoungLife camps singing songs like “Sticks and Stones” to his latest grounded track “Mine to Love” where he sings “Every time that my heart was broken, every time that I lost my way – I forget when I look into your face. You’re mine to love, we have all been waiting on you. You’re mine to love, come into these open arms.”

OVERALL Stories To Tell is another solid release from Dave Barnes. While the songs have a few more beeps and gimmicks, at the core is the same excellent songwriter that fans have grown to love, crafting songs from real life and staying true to the morals that are found in his Christian faith. Stories To Tell might not be Dave’s best work, but it is certainly worth picking up.