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Jill Barber Cuts Country Folk a New Do

by Archives November 22, 2006

Meet Jill Barber. Jill is the beautiful, bashful girl next door. She has magic in her pockets and tricks up her sleeve. Barber cuts up traditional country/folk and styles it into her own distinctive sound with honest, clever lyrics and compelling warm vocals. You may have heard of her before, not because her big brother is rising singer song-writer, Matthew Barber, but because she is her own woman, making her own waves off the East Coast. “It’s a beautiful place to live!” Jill exclaimed.

Out of Toronto and now residing in Halifax, Jill released her first full length album, For All Time, a follow-up to her 2004 acclaimed EP, Oh Heart, earlier this autumn. “A lot of the themes on the album are about leaving a legacy behind, trying to hang on to a relationship or making something last a long time. I was also trying to write songs that would have a life span,” Jill explained. This East Coast-based songwriter accomplished just that. For All Time contains enduring, timeless folk tunes with a life of their own, something that can only be expected from an album that features the artistic talents of Jim Cuddy and Bazil Donovan (of Blue Rodeo), Luke Doucet, Spencer Evans (of Sarah Harmer) and Matthew Barber. “He’s always been a great role model,” Barber revealed, thinking of Matthew. “I couldn’t have asked for a better brother. He’s guided me, helped me and introduced me to cool music when I was a teenager! He’s one of my favourite songwriters as well and I will always feel very inspired by his musi c.”

Jill Barber garners inspiration from many aspects of life and its many seasons. For All Time’s “Hard Line” is a beat riding, sweet strumming country-laced number about ending relationships after exhausting all means to keep it alive. The lead single, “Don’t Go Easy”, is a simple, yet layered multi-instrumental, full band ballad with sincere, heartfelt vocals inspired by true country roots. Jill’s concrete ties to her family glimmers through the soft, bittersweet piano based “Ashes to Ashes”. “It’s a song I wrote after I lost my grandmother at the age of 9 7,” Jill described. “It’s about losing her, but also just the necessity of letting go of somebody and grappling with the loss of a person who’s always been ther e.” The rich, time traveling cabaret love song “When I’m Making Love to You” invokes New Orleans jazz in a sensual affair between saloon piano and clarinet. Jill Barber pays tribute to time-hon ouring musical genres all the while personalizing her music and style with a contemporary spin.

With For All Time in stores now and having toured the U.K, Barber is now spreading her fresh music to audiences, sharing the stage with Ron Sexsmith, supporting his cross-Canadian tour, and feels more than privileged. “I’m thrilled to be on Ron Sexsmith’s tour! He’s been a song-writing hero of mine for a long time. I can remember back watching interviews that he would do on MuchMusic, and now it’s just really cool to be on tour with him. I feel really honoured!”

As exhilarating as it may be, after nearly three months of touring, Jill is also looking forward to going home and grounding herself for a moment, once the tour comes to an end. “I’m taking time off to spend the Holidays with my famil y,” Barber mentioned. “I’m going to take the first weeks off in January, do some song writing, spend some time at home in Halifax and by that time; I just want to ride my bike around in the snow!”

Jill Barber plays at Le Theatre Outremont Nov. 25.
1248 Av. Bernard West

Headliner: Ron Sexsmith
Tickets are $28.50.

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