Published Mar 20, 2014Folk-leaning Toronto singer-songwriter Matthew Barber is ready to have fans swooning again, having revealed a new album called Big Romance is coming our way later this spring. The artist's eighth full-length is set to hit the shelves May 27 through Outside.
A press release notes that while Barber's last couple of records were self-produced, this time around he sought some outsider advice from Jayhawks frontman Gary Louris, who took on production duties for the 10-song set. "It was a thrill to get to make a record with one of my contemporary musical heroes," Barber said of the producer in a statement.
As that album title suggests, romance is a key issue on the LP, though Barber maintains that the album is filled with more than simple love songs. "Magic Greg," for instance, is said to reflect on a departed friend, as well as last summer's shooting death of Sammy Yatim on a Toronto streetcar, which took place close to Barber's home in 2013.
"Big Romance is a wide-reaching idea on this record," Barber said. "Some songs are about love, but others deal with death, despair and that which lurks in the shadows that are cast when the fires of passion burn bright. With this title I want to embrace the idea that while it can be artistically liberating to give in to romance completely, one must also be able to step outside with a wink and recognize that sometimes romance goes no deeper than the stuff of a good song."
The album is said to feature a mix of "soul-searching ballads, foot-stomping rockers, some groovy mid-tempo tunes," and you can check out first single "Hold Me," a tender piano ballad featuring Barber's sister Jill, down below.
Tracked between Toronto's Revolution Sound and Blue Rodeo member Greg Keelor's eastern Ontario farm studio, the album reunites Barber with the rhythm section of drummer Dean Stone and bassist Julian Brown, both of Apostle of Hustle. This is the pair have backed Barber together since his 2003 debut, Means and Ends.
Along with Jill Barber helping out on the set, Michelle McAdorey adds backing vocals, Jesse O'Brien and Steve O'Connor perform piano and organ, and producer Louris likewise adds vocals and guitars throughout the album.
You'll find the tracklisting details down below and the album cover above.
1. Hold Me
2. Magnet Eyes
3. Big Romance
4. When She Comes Over Me
5. On The 505
6. Lose Your Love
7. Magic Greg
8. If Our Timing Is True
9. Dance Of The Honey Bee
10. Still Beating