Del Barber’s winsome, lonesome balladry leaves dusty footprints on the floor, traces of country-folk traditions that guide back to the late greats of songwriting history. Headwaters, Barber’s third album, picks up the trail with a set of prairie parables that lead through finely crafted confessionals and twang-kissed tales of desires lived, left and lost.
Del Barber is a singer-songwriter from Winnipeg, Canada, whose lanky frame and cowboy slouch could make him a character straight out of a dustbowl novel. Experienced in the art of haphazard employment and with a personal odometer that has been racking up miles for years, Barber’s songwriting is a homecoming, a return, a reconciliation of restlessness and experience.
His capacity to weave experiences and characters stem from a keen understanding of narrative, phrasing and metaphor, which get tied together by his polished finger-style guitar work, warm hometown melodies and his intoxicating personality. Carrying on in the tradition of legends like Townes Van Zandt, Greg Brown, Neil Young and John Prine, Del Barber breathes new life into old forms with a cutting sense of humour, a hint of cynicism, and songs that span the gulf between the sacred and the profane.
Del Barber has emerged as one of the next wave in Canada’s proud tradition of songwriting talent. His soon-to-be-released debut US album Headwaters is a headstrong leap forward for Barber, buoyed by the momentum of his previous album, the award-winning Love Songs for the Last Twenty. Recorded partly in Winnipeg and partly in Maine, US, the record blends a traveler’s sense of place with a wanderer’s sense of time, simultaneously urgent and patient, measured and confident.