Del Barber is Winnipeg’s next great songwriter. In this, the second instalment of his self-proclaimed four-albums-in-four-years saga, the local singer-songwriter taps into melodies and stories that are instantly familiar. Steeped in the country music tradition, the songs on the disc are not only carried by traditional instrumentation and Barber’s golden, oft-twangy voice, but also place heavy emphasis on narrative and place. Cities come alive in the standout track Chicago and the melancholic Thunder Bay, and a lovelorn Barber introduces history, love and desire as characters following a Great Lakes breakup scene. In the campy Songwriter’s Lament, Barber croons, “I may not make 50 grand in the next 15 years ... but I can write pretty love songs.” And with that, he’s hit the nail on the head: this is good stuff. With Love Songs , Barber establishes himself not only as worthy contender of the burgeoning Winnipeg roots scene, but also as a cornerstone of local songwriting.
Harvest by Del Barber
Published in Volume 65, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 2, 2010)