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For All Time

Jill Barber

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Album Review

At first listen, Halifax, Nova Scotia-based singer/songwriter Jill Barber sounds like merely the latest in a lineage that stretches back at least as far as her fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell. Her debut album For All Time is a familiar blend of folk, country, soft rock, and occasional torchy jazz influences, along with one oddball ringer, the Melanie-style Tin Pan Alley throwback (complete with tootling clarinet!) "When I'm Makin' Love to You." That playful tune is an early indication that Barber isn't interested in being just the next Norah Jones, and closer listens reveal a stronger talent. Foremost, Barber has an outstanding voice, smoky and soulful with both a country twang and the self-assuredly idiosyncratic phrasing of a jazz singer. Secondly, her lyrics generally avoid singer/songwriter cliché, and tunes like the shuffling folk-rocker "Hard Line" and the sorrowful lullaby "Goodnight Sweetheart," with its pedal steel and Floyd Cramer-style piano part, are melodic and instantly memorable. Fans of Canadiana will appreciate the album's special guests, including Luke Doucet, members of long-running country-rockers Blue Rodeo (lead singer Jim Cuddy provides a great harmony vocal on the choruses of the Emmylou Harris-like "Don't Go Easy") and Jill's brother, singer/songwriter Matthew Barber, but the focus through this intimate, live-sounding record is on Jill Barber, where it belongs. For All Time is a tremendously encouraging debut.

Biography

Born: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jill Barber's smoky, soulful voice with its distinctive jazz phrasing has made her a kind of alt-cabaret favorite on Canada's folk scene, and her top-notch songwriting is a thing to behold, very nearly in Joni Mitchell territory. Born and raised in Toronto, Barber has made her home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for several years now, touring regularly, often with her brother, fellow Canadian pop-folkster Matthew Barber. She has released two impressive EPs,...
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For All Time, Jill Barber
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