Another country gem from the Canadian heartland
Whenever I’ve been driving in the car with the iPhone set to random, “Farewell, God Bless You, Goodbye” from this album has haunted me, coming on between the most bizarre combination of songs. But, regardless of what came before it, this pure country track, with its shimmering steel guitar and lazy vocals, caught my attention and has had even me drawling the chorus along with Barber on many occasions.
It’s been the same with several other songs. The choruses are all deceptively catchy in a way I’ve not heard in years. Plus, they are all “story songs” — stories that are all believable regardless of whether you live on a prairie or in a sprawling metropolis, or in a run-down coal mining village.
“Country Girl” is a peach of a song and will appeal to the urban cowboy in us all, as it conjures up images of a fool in love with a sassy “Country Girl” who wants a ring on her finger before she’ll get up to any mischief. Her Daddy has his rifle propped up against a brand new door!
On “The Wind and the Wire”, Barber takes a more laconic approach, as Nadine Klowak provides some sublime harmonies on a melancholy love song that will send a chill down your spine.
Barber has gone to a lot of effort to create this authentic, old-fashioned sound — hanging speakers and microphones in a silo to get the reverb sound he wanted. It’s all been worth it. Songs like “All That It Takes” and the trucking song “Yellowhead Road” have that timeless, classy sound and feel that you associate with some of the finest country singer-songwriters of the last four or five decades.
Prairieography will appeal to country music fans of all persuasions, from hard core Bakersfield boys through to the alt-country fans, with their big bushy beards and plaid shirts from Topman or JC Penney. Del Barber is one to watch and I heartily recommend this album.