Album review – Del Barber’s “Almanac”

The Canadian singer and songwriter Del Barber released his eighth album named “Almanac“, via Acronym Records, on April 28th, almost two years after the excellent “Stray Dogs (collected B-Sides/Vol 1)“.

This new album was written in Del Barber’s farm, located in Manitoba’s Parkland, and then recorded at No Fun Club, Winnipeg, with co-producers Grant Siemens and Scott Franchuk.

All songs were written by Del Barber, with one, “On my Way Out The Door“, cowritten with his Dad and another, “Bulls“, cowritten with his neighbors, Andrea and Sarah Heide.

One of the best songs present on this album is undoubtedly “Still Got You“. Released as a single, it’s about living in a little farm, with one’s family, far from the city, its shouts and its chaos, with all the simplicity and the contact of the nature that it means.

“I’m Lucky In love, my belly is full

I never could grab the horns of the bull

I try to believe the man on the news

The whole world goes to shit and I’ve still got you”

Still Got You

Another excellent tune is “One Good Year“. Excellently written, it’s a catchy song about the life of a farmer in Canadian prairie. The music is great, with a touch of rock. Maybe it’s just me, but musically, there’s a part of it that makes me think about Micky and The Motorcars’ “Road To You“. Also about life in the Canadian prairie, “Bulls” is another amazing song, cowritten with Del Barber’s neighbor, Andrea, and her sister Sarah.

Even God Almighty” is one of the most beautiful songs of the album, with excellent pedal steel. If you love traditional country and great songwriting, it will be probably one your favorites. “Something To Say” is also a excellent song, about resisting the temptation to have an opinion about what’s happening.

You’ll find sad country songs on this album, like the beautiful “I Told You So” and “Maria“, and also an excellent bluegrass style song, “On My Way Out The Door“, mostly written by Del Barber’s song.

If you love great storytelling, be sure to listen to “Jared“. Del Barber’s Mom ran a drug rehabilitation centre in Winnipeg for 40 years, and the song, based on the story of a character from this centre, is an attempt to tell about the human side of heinous acts, the light and darkness that exists in each of us, and how it’s easy to get carried away.

Del Barber grew up listening to John Prine and Bob Dylan, and all songs of “Almanac” are based on great songwriting. You’ll find on this album brilliant and authentic stories about rural life and farm work and quality music.

Nicolas Davelu

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