Matthew Barber Ghost Notes

In the five years since gangly guitar-slinger Mathew Barber burst onto the Canadian scene, the singer-songwriter field has become very crowded indeed. Archly observed tales of modern love have become as fashionable as last season’s skinny jeans, which may explain why a grown-up country rock album like Ghost Notes needs a special edition digital EP to help promote it. Three years on from Sweet Nothing, Barber’s glossily produced affair speaks volumes about where the 31-year-old is at, however. Melodic and rhythmic, Ghost Notes doesn’t bother with theatrics. Like Ryan Adams in less rocky moments, it’s all subtle vocals and strummed guitar that veer from the upbeat, sing-along "One Little Piece of My Love” to piano ballad "Where the River Bends.” Ghost Notes’ intimate ponderings of love and life won’t break down the borders of any paddock soon but it does ease Barber closer to veteran singer-songwriter territory. (Outside)