Matthew Barber And Jill Barber The Family Album on LP
It was only a matter of time until they made an album together. Siblings Matthew and Jill Barber have spent the better part of the past 12 years focusing on their solo careers, collectively churning out 14 albums, garnering over 30 award nominations, including 3 Juno Award nods. There had been guest appearances on their respective albums, and tours together, but never a record made. In the spring of 2015, the inevitable finally happened, Matthew and Jill began work on The Family Album.
Out in April 2016 on the Outside Music label, The Family Album consists of five new compositions, two by Matthew and three by Jill, that were written specifically for this album and exist largely in the folk/country/old-time-songbook world. Matthew's "The Sweeter The Dawn" floats dreamily and burns slowly while the ballad, "Grandpa Joe," is a tribute to the siblings' Scottish maternal grandfather they never knew. Jill's "Today" is a classic affirmation of love in the face of fear, and "Big Picture Window" is her country take on settling down and making a home.
The rest of the album is comprised of six covers; chosen from a long list of songs that were pitched, discussed, attempted and roughly recorded on an iPhone during a few sessions in Vancouver (Jill's home), Toronto (Matthew's home) and California (during a family vacation). The songs selected are of personal significance, relevant to the album's themes of loyalty, time, memories and, of course, family, or, simply for how much fun they were to sing.
Unintentionally (but perhaps not surprisingly) a bit of a Canadian theme emerged with selections by Gene MacClellan ("Song To A Young Seagull") and Ian Tyson ("Summer Wages") getting new treatments. The haunting French war-ballad "The Partisan" popularized in English by Leonard Cohen is revisited, as is Neil Young's classic "Comes A Time" which undergoes a lush transformation. The album is rounded out by Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You" and "I Must Be In A Good Place Now" by Bobby Charles, acknowledging the Barber's fascination with the songwriting of the south, and seasoning the pan-Canadian folk repertoire with a note of "Americana."
The Family Album was mixed by Grammy Award winning Micheal Piersante (Willie Nelson, Robert Plant & Allison Krauss, Elvis Costello, O Brother Where Art Thou OST) and features a band comprised of Julian Brown (Feist), Dean Stone (Apostle of Hustle), Joey Wright (Sarah Harmer), Drew Jurecka (Stevie Wonder, Dave Brubeck) and Robbie Grunwald (Doug Paisley).