By Richard Provost
Wish Granted Records currently has three acts signed to its growing roster of local artists. Kindred Dead was the most recent act to sign with them, and Belle Jewel signed with them last December. Michael Barrow was the first artist signed to Wish Granted, but the one we know the least about. Turns out, he’s been quietly playing some smaller acoustic shows and open mic nights in some places throughout the valley, fleshing out his covers and improving his chops.
“In Provo I’ve made a few appearances at the iconic Velour,” Barrow told Reach Provo. “And just this last week I did a li’l set over at Guru’s. #omgsweetpotatofries. I’ve also played a couple of times over at Star Saloon, which is this swanky little pool hall up in Pleasant Grove.” We were able to watch Barrow perform at Star Saloon earlier this week. It appears he has become a favorite there, with bar-goers grabbing an empty pitcher and spontaneously tossing in tips. Barrow hadn’t even set a tip jar out. “Yeah, that was pretty cool,” he said that night with a smile before generously giving his tips to the bartenders.
When asked what it’s been like working with Wish Granted Records, Barrow said, “It’s been such a cool experience! I’ve always loved the music scene here in Provo, and since I got here it was my dream to become a part of it. As far as challenges go, the hardest thing for me has always been finding ways to get my music out there. I have songs, I’ve got covers and arrangements, but it’s always been difficult to find places to play it. Wish Granted Records has changed EVERYTHING. Seriously all the things. Remember how my biggest challenge was not knowing how to get into venues? Well, then Wish Granted Records happened. Boom. Problem solved.”
Wish Granted is the reason he landed a spot at The Wall’s Acoustic Explosion at BYU. He was invited back for another night but had to turn it down because his night was already booked with another show. Wish Granted also got him the gig at Gezzo Hall tonight. “I honestly don’t know how this Gezzo gig happened. My manager called me and said he had received a phone call from someone asking if I wanted to play.”
Word about Barrow’s voice is slowly getting around. It’s the type of voice that demands attention – a voice like Ed Sheeran’s set to the lyrical and stylistic sensibilities of the folkier songs from John Mayer’s Continuum (e.g. “Heart of Life” and “Stop This Train”). When asked what Barrow has in the works, he said, “Being with the label has also allowed me to collaborate with other musicians and workshop my songs, and I’m really pleased with the way things are coming together. I’m recording! Don’t tell anyone, but we just finished up my first single in the studio and we’ll be releasing it here pretty soon. Actually, tell everyone. That’d be good. I don’t have a ‘band,’ per se, but as I mentioned before I’ve been working with other musicians on my songs, and I hope to be able to continue working with them.”
The single, “The List,” was recorded at Noisebox Studios with engineer Dave Zimmerman. Barrow has released some rough takes of some of his songs on YouTube – some simple acoustic performances that, while not polished, are promising. Barrow has improved a lot since recording those videos, and fans who see him tonight won’t be disappointed. “I’m really excited about the show! I’ll be playing along with three other singer/songwriters. People can expect a very low-key, chill, intimate, acoustic show. And that’s the best thing ever.”
Barrow will be performing tonight at Gezzo Hall with Carlos Viitanen, Sam Cooley, and Bryant Miller. Tickets are $7 in advance, $10 at the door. Doors open at 8PM. You can purchase tickets online here.