Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Headwaters" by Del Barber Review

Here is the long awaited review of Del Barber's latest album entitled "Headwaters."  This album dropped on May 1, 2012 on Six Shooter Records.

It seems as though Del wants to stray away from what he has been comfortable with during his, as my friend Mark put it, Jack Johnson days to his current country/alt-country days.   From wah pedals and distorted guitars to clapping and cello to name a few instruments, Del experiments with delving in deeper into the alt-country side of music.  This is prevalent on the first track entitled "Love and Wine."  Busting  out some triablesque drum beats, it makes you feel like you are in the wild west and some outlaw is about to come rolling through town.  I don't know if Del was going for that, but that's what I got from the beat.

The second track entitled "Everything Is Not Enough" and it continues on in the same vain of being different as you immediately hear a wah pedal.  A wah pedal you ask?  That's right.  This is another departure for Del.  It's not something he has used on his past albums.  But as you weave through the rest of the album, that's not all that is a departure for him as there is reverb on the song "Can't Turn Around."

Continuing on his kick of country music, "Believe Me" has that classic country feel.  It's no surprise considering he is trying to be totally country with how he sounds when he talks, dresses (somewhat), and what have you.  This seems to be a comfortable transition for Del.  I'm not saying he is going to dress like they do in mainstream country music because that's not Del.  That's too cowboy for him.  But he will do more of an alt-country look.  But what does that look like?

I've heard people say that "Soul of the Land That's Mine" is not a good fit for the album.  I would have to agree.  It seems out of place.  It's good that he didn't start the album off with this song.  It seems slow compared to the rest of the album.  Sure a lot of songs are slow, but this is slow in a way that you have to listen to to get.

Even though this album is different from what Del has done in the past, it is still recommended that you give it a listen.  Being that it is different, you might find this album harder to get into.  It may take a number of listens to truly appreciate what he was intending to do when he made it different.  Either way this one is not a miss.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Del Barber and Old Man Luedecke Concert Review

This past Thursday, I went to see Del Barber.  He was opening for Old Man Luedecke.  I never heard of Old Man Luedecke at that point.  I've heard pretty much everything he has recorded except for a few tracks on his new album "Headwaters" (I'll review "Headwaters in another post) which I purchased at the show.  The concert was at Christ Church Anglican which is located on 28th St. W. in Saskatoon.  I love going in churches like these.  I felt like whipping out the Book of Common Prayer and praying.

Even the Del was the opener of the concert, he put on great show.  I haven't seen him in nearly six years when he played at the CBC barbecue.  He has developed his presence with his story telling and performing.  He doesn't just banter to banter like Tegan and Sara for instance.  But he has style all his own.  His facial expressions and body language when he performs are different than others I've seen.  Different can be good.  After all, you don't want to be the same as everybody else.  He also got the crowd going with some jokes.

Del played a number of songs of his new album "Headwaters."  He performed "Right Side of the Wrong," "Running on a Wire" (which can be considered his current single), "The Waitress," and "Everything is Not Enough."  He also performed a few of his older songs like "62 Richmond," "Party Song," and "Home to Manitoba."  He performed another song in which I can't remember the name.  I was hoping he would have played "God Damn Desire" off his 2009 album "Where the City Ends."  I recommend that album.  All in all Del Barber is someone you should go see if you are into folk, folk rock, alt-country, country, roots, and Americana styles of music.  Just take a chance on him and you may find out you like his music.

During the intermission I talked briefly to Del.  I'm surprised he knew who I was.  We know a number of the same people.  We also talk about a couple of other things.  So it was great to talk to him albeit briefly.

Old Man Luedecke was the headliner.  He plays banjo and guitar.  He was accompanied by his friend who played mandolin.  He ripped some mandolin solos which were awesome!  His songs are not serious with the exception of the odd one.  Two songs that I remember the names of were "Monsanto Jones" and "I Quit My Job."  He likes to tell stories as well.  He did some bantering with the crowd.  I always like to see a performer banter with the crowd.  Over all his music is pretty good with a playful feel to it.

All in all this concert was great and I know I'll be seeing Del Barber again. If Old Man Luedecke comes back, I'd go see him again.  I recommend checking out both of these guy's music.  You might find out you like it!