Kim Barlow Champ

Kim Barlow Champ
It’s another flawless collection of shrewd observations and wry wit from Yukon-based singer-songwriter Kim Barlow. This time, the simplicity of Barlow’s down-to-earth vocals and folk instrumentation are embellished with glistening pop touches that linger in the ears. She supplements capable claw hammer banjo playing with a variety of other instruments, including Wurlitzer, Autoharp and shivers of lovely glockenspiel. Though melodically inventive, the music tends to hang modestly back, allowing Barlow’s crafty lyrics to take centre stage. Underneath her beautiful poetic rhythm lies something deliciously, refreshingly sour — i.e., "Gingerman,” the twisted tale of a cookie man who chews off his own hands and feet in a drunken rage. "No one else can run as fast as one tough cookie with no pants,” sings Barlow, who then whistles sweetly, sounding as though frosting wouldn’t melt in her mouth. With her agreeable, unaffected voice and sly sense of humour, Barlow’s fourth full-length disc warms the spirit like a cup of rum-spiked cocoa during a tundra cold snap. (Jericho Beach)