Also by Neal Barnard
Verdun has its roots somewhere in rock and roll, but sent its branches into another world, mixing in touches of electronica, Vietnamese music, and a bit of love-among-the-ashes. The music is intelligent and sensuous, with pounding rhythms, hard-driving guitars, and ethereal vocals.
The CD begins with “Dream of the Black Horse,” based on a traditional Vietnamese song, Ly Ngua O, and taken into high gear. In 2009, the song was played at conclusion of the Library of Congress’ Journey to Freedom weekend events at the National Capitol mall in Washington, DC. The Journey to Freedom commemorated the struggles of the Vietnamese boat people after the fall of Saigon, many of whom died in their search for freedom.
Perhaps the most beautiful song on the album is Song to a Sparrow, sung by Martha Roebuck along
with delicate cello and classical guitar. The album also includes stunning rethinks of Jimi Hendrix’ Purple Haze and Tammy Wynette’s classic Stand by Your Man.
The Verdun CD is available now on Amazon. com and CDBaby.com.
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Pop Maru (1983)
Barnard’s first release, Pop Maru, was a collaboration with Bob Gray, Matt Shelley, and Michael Willis. The industrial New Wave sound was a high-energy mix of edgy lyrics, dissonant melodies, and occasional tongue-in-cheek humor, reminiscent of Laurie Anderson and Talking Heads. When the album was released in 1983, the WASP record label acknowledged to radio stations that some would find this combination to be new and even “difficult.” However, the album stood up well over time, and its use of foreign languages and complex rhythms foretold what was to come.