Music from the Swamp – the ‘Matthew Barber’ Edition

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[1] and then went on to McMaster and earned a Master of Arts degree in philosophy.[2] Music seems to run the family – his sister Jill Barber is also an accomplished musician.[3] 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!

[1] I also graduated from Queen’s!

[3] I have tried to like Jill Barber’s music but I can’t get into it.

Chris’s iPod

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!

Matthew Barber

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.

Natalie Merchant

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!

The Plague Day 3

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
  • Coughing
  • Tight lungs
  • Inability to breathe
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore joints and muscles
  • Dizzy
  • 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.