Samuel Barber was an accomplished baritone, and Gerald Finely's voice is similar in range and weight (one the evidence of early recordings, Barber's was more mellifluous and warm). Even though there's not much audience for American art songs, the output from Barber has been loved for at least six decades. Listeners who don't know the Hermit Songs generally have encountered the heartbreaking "Sure on This Shining Night" to a poem by James Agree.
Gerald Finley, fresh from his operatic triumph as John Adams' Doctor Atomic, and pianist Julius Drake are direct, at times blunt, in their approach. Thomas Hampson was more stylized and nuanced in his classic traversal, with Cheryl Studer and pianist John Browning, of all the songs (Dg, unfortunatley in shrill, edgy digital sound), and Sir Thomas Allen was warm and eloquent in his 1990 Barber recital (Virgin). Finley doesn't attempt eloquence, but he's so sincere and right in his American-ness that this newcomer in the Barber song sweepstakes creates a very positive impression.