Artist of the Week – Matthew Barber
If you’re anything like us here at Vapor, you’ve been enjoying the past month of television premiere season. Nothing says fall like fresh episodes of your favourite programs, and tonight marks the Season 3 start of a show near and dear to our hearts – The Border. Premiering on CBC Television at 9pm, this series revolves around the tumultuous lives of the Canadian Immigration and Customs Security Squad, and Vapor’s music supervisors are right there to underscore the drama with the perfect song.
In the Season Premiere, this song is “Our Voices” by Toronto-based singer/songwriter Matthew Barber. The track is from Barber’s Juno-nominated album Ghost Notes (Outside Music, 2008), and is a hauntingly beautiful ballad punctuated by airy vocal harmonies. Barber is a veteran of the Canadian indie scene, and his music continually demonstrates a level of grace and maturity rarely found in today’s music.
Folk Singer/Songwriter and Roots Rock
Similar to: Jason Collett, Joel Plaskett, Hawksley Workman
“When a song crackles through your speakers with purity, simplicity and enough soul to make you believe, well, it’s special. And when Matthew Barber strums his trusty acoustic on the intro of Easily Bruised, you are willing to sit down and let the man speak. The slight melding of letters when he sings “PEI” gives the track a nostalgic 70’s radio feel, but everything comes across so smoothly, without a trace of pretension and transforms his new record – Ghost Notes – from just another average cup of coffee to one you savor.”
“In a culture where it’s become impossible for a straight-up singer-songwriter to break through the din if he or she doesn’t follow the outré paradigm of the pack, an intelligent, acoustic artist like Canada’s Matthew Barber–vocally, a cross between David Gray and Don McLean–will have to promise more than his firstborn to U.S. Rumpelstiltskins for success. But the music never panders on Ghost Notes whose best songs merge old school Harvard Square with a hipper Washington Square Park vibe (“Easily Bruised,” “Somebody Sometime,” and “Sleep Please Come To Me”), and its piano-grounded tracks nudge the listener into sing-a-longs (“Our Voices”), and a Bruce Springsteen River-era moodiness (“Where The River Bends”).”