Al Barlow


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Al Barlow
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There is no scientific way to prove it, but Al Barlow may very well be the happiest man on the face of this big ol' goofy world. You think this when you see him from across a room, when you listen to any of his songs live or on your home stereo, even when heís just a big, sunny East Texas voice twanging on the other end of a phone line. Any way you encounter him, Al Barlow is pure, unadulterated and relentless Happy personified. And he knows it. "Iíve never met anybody in my life that I would consider a happier person," Barlow readily concedes. "Iíve met a lot of happy folks but I donít know anybody more blessed than me. Iíve had my share of heartaches and grief, but Iím not gonna let that part of life dominate me. But not only am I gonna be happy, Iím gonna make damn sure that I try to make everybody else happy that I come in contact with." He chuckles. "Itís just one of my mental problems." Who, you may ask yourself, is this mental, happy man? Heís a 46 year-old, married father of two grown daughters. Heís a twenty-seven-year veteran with the Southwestern Bell telephone company (customer service), a loyal employee and dues-paying union member. And heís one of the best not to mention the funniest -- American singer-songwriters youíve likely never heard. Youíve certainly never heard songs quite like his before: quirky, mischievous little ditties about matchbooks and empty peanut butter jars and fishing and nosy co-workers that come on silly but rarely go on their merry way without goosing the heart by surprise. And Al Barlowís been writing them his entire life. "I donít remember a time when I wasnít making up a little song of some kind," he says. "I remember I was a little kid and how surprised my mother would be whenever I would come in and say ĎI wrote this poem I want you to hear.í I just kept on doing it, because something would come to me and I just had to put it down in writing. And it was fun." The only time the happy songs stopped coming to Barlow was during a rough stretch in his teens, after the suicide of his mother threw him into a five-year depression. It wasn't until a cousin fresh from a tour of duty in Vietnam helped him put his sadness in perspective that he snapped out of it. "He helped me realize that I donít have to be sad, that other people have it worse, and that maybe I could use my experience with tragedy to help somebody else." The songs came back, but Barlow never got around to singing them for anyone but his extended family until the phone company transferred him from Pasadena, TX to San Antonio sixteen years ago. Barlow moved his family to nearby New Braunfels in the Texas Hill Country, and shortly thereafter a fortuitous, uncharacteristic visit to a songwriterís circle at Cheatam Street Warehouse in neighboring San Marcos sealed his fate. His songs were a hit, he went back a second time, and next thing he knew, he was a Hill Country sensation. His picture was in the local papers. Fellow Texas singer-songwriters Robert Earl Keen and Terri Hendrix began singing his praises and sharing their crowds with him, with Keen memorably once personally asking his rabid fans to shut up and listen to Barlowís songs. His songs are now on the radio, both locally and in locales as far flung as Alaska, and theyíre in the homes of his own growing family of fans, preserved for the ages on a trio of independently released, homespun Texas classics: The Original Al Barlow, The Adventures of Al Barlow and now the epic At Home With Al Barlow. Think of the last produced by Lloyd Maines and recorded live before a small gathering of family and friends not at Alís home but rather at his sisterís right across the street -- as Al Barlowís Greatest Hits. Itís just Al, his guitar and two dozen of his best songs, some new ("The Peanut Butter Jar"), lots of oldies but goodies ("I Once Was a Seed," "Cypress Creek Elixer") and at least one bonafide Al Barlow anthem, the blue collar workiní manís battle cry, "Painting Stripes on the Highway." And in keeping with Barlowís mission in life, every one of Ďem will cheer you up, except for the occasional curveball like "Hunting Squirrels," which might make you cry, and the poignant "Col. Travisí Slave," which will change the way you remember the Alamo for the rest of your life. As for Al Barlow, heís just counting the days down to two yearsí worth until he can retire from the phone company and take up his real passion full-time. "Iím really not retiring in the truest sense of the word because Iím certainly not retiring from what I love to do best, and thatís entertaining," says the guy whoís still got the check stub from his first paying music gig in his "Al Barlow Museum" in a front room of his house. "I donít care about being a rich, famous, top of the charts guy. I just wanna be able to eke out a living by singing and making CDs and entertaining. Thatís just something Iíve loved to do ever sense I was a little kid. Itís part of who I am. Thereís nothing that cheers me up more than cheering up somebody else." Consider it a done deal.
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Average Rating : 0              Total Reviews: 26


Al Barlow  09/04/2004            
Tom Peal
This is a great Album. Listen to "Just the Way I Am" and you could solve all the problems of the world.
Al Barlow  08/14/2004            
Austin
Al is a special guy, with a special talent. His music is one of a kind. Nothin' like good story-tellin' music.
Al Barlow  06/14/2004            
Harris G.
I totally dig your stuff. Good strong sound. I think they will go far.
Al Barlow  02/09/2004            
Nanette Keinrath
When I moved down From Missouri to Texas, because I loved the hospitally and the culture so greatly. My brother in law Fred was showing us around town and a few local places. Where music is well known in the lone star state. And we stoped in the historical little town of Greune. And Al Barlow was playing at the Museum Hall that afternoon .And as the day proceeded on and on when he made his appearance on the stage. Playing and strumming, singing those first few notes and then the beat and melody went on. As I sat their listening and listening to his performance, I was at awe, what a multi talented person with extreamly great talent. His music is something to be admired, Not only a gifted soul, but a very, very pleasant person to meet. Way to go Al.
Al Barlow  02/09/2004            
Nanette Keinrath
When I moved down From Missouri to Texas, because I loved the hospitally and the culture so greatly. My brother in law Fred was showing us around town and a few local places. Where music is well known in the lone star state. And we stoped in the histrical little town of Greune. And Al Barlow was playing at the Museum Hall that afternoon .And as the day proceeded on and on when he made his appearance on the stage. Playing and strumming, singing those first few notes and then the beat and melody went on. As I sat their listening and listening to his performance, I was at awe, what a multi talented person with extreamly great talent. His music is something to be admired, Not only a gifted soul, but a very, very pleasant person to meet. Way to go Al.
Al Barlow  02/09/2004            
Nanette Keinrath
I met Al Barlow through my brother in-law Fred. And as the night proceeded on and on when he made his appearance on the stage. Playing and strumming, singing those first few notes and then the beat and melody went on. As I sat their listing and listened to his performance, I was at awe, what a muilty taleted person which extreamly great talent. His music is something to admire, Not only a gifted soul, but a very, very pleasant person to meet. Way to go Al.
Al Barlow  10/16/2002            
Sheree
Al Barlow is one of the best of the Hill Country songwriters.When I first him,I thought he was just putting on a show,but then as I got to know him I found out he was REAL! Al has entertained us for years and every time we have people in town we try to get them to a Al Barlow show. I owned a live music bar for several years and Al never failed to fill the house with fans and laughter.He is a fine example of Southern hospitality,country values,and a God given talent.I am proud to call him mu friend!
Al Barlow  05/07/2002            
AustinJoy
Al's sensitive silliness is a breath of fresh air in the middle of a cow pasture. His appearance at Buzzard Run VI this past weekend allowed his campfire lawn chair presence to emanate a cause for celebration of lives present and past.
Al Barlow  03/14/2002            
Rob
I first saw Al Barlow at a "Resort" on Lake Travis about 7 years ago. It was an outdoor concert on a beautiful early Fall afternoon. His music was as comforting as that nice fall day. Very happy songs. Very UNIQUE songs. I don't think I had ever laughed at a music concert before, but I sure did that day. Barlow has a friendly sence of humor and you can't help but smile when you listen to his music. On the way home from the lake, I went through Greune and stopped by the White Hall to buy Al's tape. It's been in my old truck ever since. Tonight I'm here to by the CD version for my new truck...... my new car
Al Barlow  06/15/2001            
Wade Barfield
I thought I was a songwriter, until I heard Al Barlow, now I think differently.
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