Northampton Press

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Spotlight On: Paul Barrere's Feat do the walking at the Peak

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

For 45 years, Little Feat has been at the forefront of what became Americana and jam-band music.

"Little Feat was known as this band of eclectic guys who would perform all these styles of music and a lot of improv like the jazz septets of the 1950s," says Paul Barrere, guitarist, a member of Little Feat since 1972, joining after the release of "Sailing Shoes."

Barrere and Fred Tackett, who became a member of Little Feat in 1987 before "Let it Roll" and has been writing songs for and playing on recordings with Little Feat since 1972, present one of their duo concerts at 8 p.m. May 18, Penn's Peak, 325 Maury Road, Penn Forest Township.

Barerre and Tackett are expected to perform songs from the Little Feat catalogue. They first played together 25 years ago on the album "Dixie Chicken" and have played together or individually on recording sessions for Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and the Wallflowers.

Barrere's contributions to Little Feat as a songwriter include "Feats Don't Fail Me Now," "All That You Dream," "Time Loves A Hero" and "Down On The Farm."

Barrere plays blues, rock, jazz, Cajun and is a slide guitarist.

Also performing in the May 18 concert at The Peak is the super group, New Orleans Suspects, which includes Jake Eckert, guitar-vocals (The Dirty Dozen Brass Band); CR Gruver, keyboards-vocals (Polytoxic, Outformation); Reggie Scanlan, bass (The Radiators, Professor Longhair Band); "Mean" Willie Green, drums (Neville Brothers); and Jeff Watkins, saxophone (James Brown Band, Joss Stone Band).

The New Orleans Suspects, formed in 2011 after the breakup of The Radiators, is expected to play songs by Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Radiators, Nevilles and Dirty Dozen.

"Fred and I usually open the show," said Barrere in a recent phone interview. Barrere and Tackett present a 45-minute duo set. The New Orleans Suspects perform for about one hour. Barrere and Tackett return to play with The New Orleans Suspects for "another hour at least," Barrere says.

Don't expect note-for-note versions of studio recordings.

"We never thought of it as having to be replicated note for note. And there are bands that do that, which is why we may have been bubbling under. It's only been the last 10 or 15 years that we've [Little Feat] been thrown all these accolades that we were trailblazers along with the Allman Brothers, who enabled people to be a little freer [in concert performances]."

Barrere recently played four days of concerts in New Orleans with New Orleans Suspects, Gov't Mule, singer-songwriter Anders Osborne, and Bill Kreutzmann, Grateful Dead drummer. "That to me is golden," Barrere says, adding, "It's not going to get you a Ferrari."

Barrere's music performance philosophy is akin to his sentiments as a visual artist. "I was taught very much as an art major, it's not so much what your doing. The joy is in the doing."

Barrere works in pen and ink, acrylics and does pencil drawings. "Now that I'm getting closer and closer to my pension, I'm starting to do some art projects." He's working on assemblages.

He's seen a lot of changes in the music business in the last 40 years of rock era.

"As soon as the digital genie got out of the bottle, the whole industry changed. Napster just opened the door for everybody to borrow music as they call it. We had to reinvent our marketing tools. There's so few record stories, it's almost criminal."

Barrere, whose parents were character actors in movies, attended Hollywood High School and graduated from North Hollywood High School. His brother works as a key grip on movie productions. His late brother was a motion picture editor.

Barrere began playing guitar at age 13.

He reckons he has 25 guitars. He has 10 acoustic instruments, mostly classic Martins. A Fender Stratocaster was purchased new in 1969. "I used that one on all the Little Feat recordings," he says.

He looks forward to returning to Penn's Peak. "We've been there a few time times. I like that place."

Tickets: pennspeak. com, 1-866-605-7325