Several months ago I heard Matthew Barber on the CBC when he released his most recent eponymous album. Barber’s music has been described as indie, alternative with a few country twinges. His latest album is actually his sixth. His first album, ‘Means and Ends’ was released in 2003. Matthew Barber graduated from Queen’s and then went on to McMaster and earned a Master of Arts degree in philosophy. Music seems to run the family – his sister Jill Barber is also an accomplished musician. Unfortunately, none of his songs are in YouTube so I can’t link to them. Check him out in iTunes!
So, in no particular order, are some of my favourite Matthew Barber songs:
‘Man in a Movie’ – The first couple of times I heard this song was on the Alaskan crusie I took with my mother in June of 2011.
‘Oh Lexi’ – This is a simple song but I love it. The piano in it is phenomenal. Deb hates it.
‘Hawks on a Highway’ – is from True Believer
‘Somebody Sometime’ – from ‘Ghost Notes’ is my current favourite!
 I also graduated from Queen’s!
 I have tried to like Jill Barber’s music but I can’t get into it.
I think I started this feature some time ago and never really followed up on it. So, without further ado I shall begin with what my friend Joe terms: my musical imperialism!
I first heard Matthew Barber on CBC’s On the Coast. Stephen Quinn played ‘I miss you when you’re gone’ and I was hooked. I am not quite sure how to describe Barber. I hear some Dustin Bentall reflected in his music along with that strong Canadian singer-songwriter tradition. Some of his songs are a little alt-country for me. My favourite songs on his self-titled album released this year are ‘Man in a Movie’ and ‘Lexi.’ ‘Man in a Movie’ has excellent, resonating lyrics that I fell in love with the first time I heard it. ‘Lexi’ is a musical triumph. Barber uses guitar and piano to build layers into the song that work really well. I recommend Barber to anyone who loves Canadian singer-songwriter, roots music. You won’t be disappointed.
I love Natalie Merchant’s voice. I have listened to her over the years and just recently added her back into my main playlist. I really enjoy her live stuff like ‘Dust Bowl’ and her cover of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity.’ I remember first hearing Natalie Merchant when she sang lead vocals for the 10,000 Maniacs. There is a quality to her voice that gives anything she sings a great edge.
What is there to say about Adele? She is absolutely phenomenal. I have never heard an artist with a voice like hers. She also knows how to use it like an instrument. Her new album ‘21’ is great. Her songwriting is very mature for her age. I just hope she doesn’t continue to name her albums based on age!
I woke up this morning feeling like I was hit by a Mack Truck. I was up several times in the night and I kept falling asleep before I pee and go back to bed. I spent a lot of time sleeping in the bathroom last night. So far, here are the symptoms I have had:
- Nasal congestion
- Tight lungs
- Inability to breathe
- Sore joints and muscles
- Weakness when I try to move
This thing really needs to fuck off now.
In other news, Matthew Barber’s eponymous album is fabulous. I heard a track from it a couple of months ago on the CBC and jotted down a note to look for it. Well, I was completely blown away. I loved the initial song I heard: ‘I miss you when you’re gone.’ The rest of the album is equally fantastic. Barber’s lyrics are mature and sophisticated. His voice has that little edge of imperfection that I love. I think he has a great career before him.
Checking out from the Swamp for the day.