This is the 3rd Solo Release of UK Singer- Actor John Barr
16 Contemporary Ballads introducing 4 new songs – including a new song by Stephen Schwartz & Dean Pitchford & a Duet with Alison Jiear
— Lisa Martland, The Stage
“John Barr’s latest CD has the perfect title, for the multi-talented actor and singer – with a voice to die for – has indeed turned A Different Corner. It’s farewell to musical theatre standards and hello pop classics and contemporary melodies – it’s a brave switch but one achieved quite effortlessly.”
— Lynda Trapnell, Musical Stages
“John Barr has established himself securely in the ranks of top cabaret performers and this, his latest CD, illustrates his versatility. Unlike some artists from musical theatre, John moves easily between different styles which makes this album more interesting. A wise move, too, to have the extraordinary Alison Jiear as his guest. Their duet, “You and I” is a smash and his interpretation of pop numbers brings them new depth.”
— Mark Shenton, theatre critic for BBC LONDON LIVE
“John Barr’s third solo CD takes him in yet another direction, away from the showtunes that have been his staple, and it’s a refreshign departure. This constantly evolving performer just gets better and better, and its great to see his confidence grow to a point where he can throw off the safety net of the world he is most familiar with but give us something completely different instead. He is a very effective song stylist, in the mould of such illustrious counterparts as Michael Feinstein and Harry Connick Jr, but with his own distinctive talent. He is also backed on this album by some seriously qualified musicians, not to mention the terrific Alison Jiear.”
— Michael Darvell, “What’s On In London” – May 3, 2000 Issue
“These thoughts come to me whilst listening to the 3rd and latest album from John Barr, a singer and actor who is often to be seen on the London Cabaret fringe, that is when he is not entertaining on a cruise ship such as the QE2 or wowing them over in New York. He’s off to Sydney soon to make his Australian Cabaret debut at the Town Hall, before appearing as Bill Bobstay in HMS PINAFORE and Njegus in a new production of THE MERRY WIDOW with OPERA DELLA LUNA in the Covent Garden Music Festival. I first saw John Barr in a (then) new cabaret spot at Oscars wine bar in Leicester Square, the forerunner of Centre Stage. Both Venue’s are now closed, so where else can young cabaret performers test their talent? Meanwhile John Barr’s new album is called A DIFFERENT CORNER is a collection of 16 ballads from the likes of Carole King, Burt Bacharach and David, Lennon & McCartney, Stevie Wonder, George Michael, Conner Reeves, Stephen Schwartz & Dean Pitchford among others.”
— Steve Ashfield, The Mag
“It was a trip round the back of the Classic Stage at Mardi Gras 2000, which led to finding this little gem. John has appeared in many a West End musical and is currently on tour with a new production “THE MERRY WIDOW”. His previous studio albums have featured that side of his career, but here he moves into adult contemporary mode and a great success is made of the transition. If you want to wind down after a hard day at the office, then this is perfect. It might also get your partner in the mood for some fun as well. There are exquisite covers of such classics as “THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD” “YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND”. There are also some new songs including one by the Oscar Winning composer Stephen Schwartz’s “CRY WITHOUT A REASON”. Particular favorites? “WHY GOODBYE” and “YOU AND I” by Stevie Wonder dueting with Ms. Alison Jiear. Strongly recommended.”
— Jeff Roseen, Cabaret Scenes Revues November 2000 Vol. V, No.11
“Some people come to performing when they are high school, some in college, some later in life. And some, like John Barr, know at an early age that a life upon the wicked stage is what they want to lead. Already enrolled in the Sylvia Young Theatre School, Barr was cast in the West End production of Oliver at the age of 10 and has been working ever since. A member of the original cast of ASPECTS OF LOVE and veteran of such shows as LES MISERABLES, EVITA, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and many other well known as well as little known shows. But on his third solo recording, A DIFFERENT CORNER, Barr takes the title quite literally and heads away from the bright lights of the theatre to visit the world of pop. And what a welcome visit it is indeed.
That someone would even think of remaking Tom Jones’ IT’S NOT UNUSUAL is amazing -after all, Jones’ 1965 version is a classic, albeit a time warped one – but Barr not only takes on the challenge, he reinvents it with the help of Graham Harvey’s vibrant new arrangement which features a sweltering sax line from Nigel Hitchcock. The title track is courtesy of ex-whammer George Michael and Harvey’s UNDER THE BOARDWALK like setting gives Barr the perfect framework in which to build a four-minute oasis of blissful escape.
Mixing pop standards, although here they sound like anything but standard when delivered by Barr, whose voice and expressiveness bring to mind a mix of Lee Lessack’s vibrancy, Charles Cermele’s passion and Simply Red’s Mick Hucknell’s raw honesty with an exciting selection of new compositions, Barr ensconces himself comfortably in the world of adult comtempory music in the good sense of that genre, not the sneering connotation is often unjustly receives.
From Carole King’s opening YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND, into Hal David & Burt Bacharach’s sensational I’M A BETTER MAN (FOR HAVING LOVED YOU), which was a minor hit for Engelbert Humperdink in 1969 and is given a luminous read here by Barr, and Lennon/McCartney’s timeless jewel THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD.
What Barr accomplishes in this introductory trio is undeniably dazzling but only sets the stage for the wonders to come: The passionate ALL I NEED TO KNOW, written by Rupert Wates and set in wondrous all strings arrangement by Wates, who supplies a crystallised guitar throughout; Diane Warrens R&B-flavored WHY GOODBYE; the alterna-jazz THAT’S THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT YOU; the sweeping melody line of LIFETIME OF LOVE and its fervent lyric by Steve Clark rendered breathtakingly by Barr; a lush duet with Alison Jiear on Stevie Wonder’s YOU AND I, one of the most simply elegant statements of ever penned; the poignant confession of the inability to express one’s heart found in GIVE ME STRENGTH, penned and exquistely arranged by Bill Worrall, who delivers the set’s second impeccable guitar backing, and Graham Goble’s tenderly aching PLEASE DON’T ASK ME; and Dean Pitchford and Stephen Schwartz’s ethereal CRY WITHOUT A REASON.
But it is in ORDINARY PEOPLE, by Conner Reeves and the closing and decidedly moving GONE TOO SOON, written by Buzz Kohan and Larry Grossman and recorded previously by artist’s as diverse as Michael Jackson and Julie Budd and how many songs can you say that about!? Barr outdoes himself, creating two of the year’s most memorable and affecting musical moments. And when the final moments of this generous 63 plus minute recording are over, you will echo the set’s final song and say, “Gone too soon! Gone too soon!”
— Nick Davies – Musical Stages Review – Issue 23, June 2000
“The extremely vocally talented John Barr brings us his third album but with a difference, as the title suggests. Instead of the Cabaret style songs of the previous CDs, we are treated to some pop favourites like Stevie Wonder’s “YOU AND I” (joined for this duet is by the equally amazing Alison Jiear) and a wonderful new arrangement of “THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD” by The Beatles. There is even a laid back, bluesy feel version of the Tom Jones classic “IT’S NOT UNUSUAL”, this time joined by saxophonist Nigel Hitchcock.
John treats us to some new material too, “GIVE ME STRENGTH” by Bill Worrall whose arrangements are also heard throughout the CD, and Stephen Schwartz’s “CRY WITHOUT A REASON”
— Cabaret Scenes Nov 2000
“…Barr outdoes himself, creating two of the year’s most memorable and affecting musical moments…”
JOHN BARR - Biography JOHN BARR trained at the Sylvia Young Theatre School. He made his stage debut at the age of 12 in the West End production of "OLIVER". Since then he has appeared in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, ANNIE,…