Jethro Tull Six-String Legend Martin Barre Chats About His New Album, 'Roads Less Travelled'

(Image credit: Elayne Barre)

Martin Barre, one of the most influential names in prog-rock guitar for almost 50 years, is most closely associated with giants of the genre, Jethro Tull. His first recorded appearance with the band was on their second album, 1969’s Stand Up, which saw them morphing from a fairly conventional blues-rock outfit on first album, This Was, into cross-pollinations of jazz and rock, with a uniquely English sensibility that continued to develop from album to album. Tull constantly pushed boundaries, incorporating folk and medieval elements into their blues mould to create a sound distinctly their own.

Since Tull effectively ceased to function as a unit in 2011 beyond “Ian Anderson plus,” Barre has been carving out a highly successful solo career, leading a crack band of likeminded souls into a series of albums and live sets; the likes of which include often radical reworkings of Tull classics sitting comfortably next to Barre’s originals and even a handful of covers, among which his take on the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” has been a highlight. With his smoothly singing, sweetly distorted signature tone and his always unpredictable note selection, his solos and fills never take the expected route. Indeed the title of his new album, Roads Less Travelled, would make an ideal description for his own unique approach. Extremely self-effacing, with a great memory for the details of his lengthy career, Martin is an interviewer’s dream.

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Mark McStea

Mark is a freelance writer with particular expertise in the fields of ‘70s glam, punk, rockabilly and classic ‘50s rock and roll. He sings and plays guitar in his own musical project, Star Studded Sham, which has been described as sounding like the hits of T. Rex and Slade as played by Johnny Thunders. He had several indie hits with his band, Private Sector and has worked with a host of UK punk luminaries. Mark also presents themed radio shows for Generating Steam Heat. He has just completed his first novel, The Bulletproof Truth, and is currently working on the sequel.