Del Barber's latest CD is like a love letter to the Canadian Prairies. The country-folk singer-songwriter releases Prairieography at a pair of concerts at The Park Theatre on March 20 and 21.
"I feel like I've always written about home and I'm just getting better and better at it," he said. "I figured I need to really claim it. It's a sincere bunch of songs.
"All of the guys and girls that play on the record are from here, so I just feel like it's got a distinct kind of line to this geographical area."
He recalls the impact Ian Tyson`s album Cowboyography had on him, how it brought him into Tyson`s world. He wanted to recreate that feeling, but about the Prairies.
He even recorded the reverb for the album in a grain silo and made use of audio sounds from farm machinery such as combines and augers.
"We felt like kids, climbing up these grain silos, eradicating pigeons, and it just felt like a fun, creative way to make Prairieography stand out."
The bulk of the recording was made at Empire Recording in The Exchange with producer and steel player Bill Western.
Barber says storytelling is key to his songwriting. "When I started writing songs I was very vague and poetic and maybe trying too hard to be hip," he said.
"I started to realize I really liked songs that had a distinct narrative quality to them, something that listeners could hold on to."
He credits his father, who co-wrote some of the songs on the album, with helping to shape his approach to music.
"I think it's learning to trust the ears of the elder songwriters and the people who have been consuming music for a long time and realizing they might know a little more than my 20-year-old friends at the time.
We have such a rich tradition of songwriting[in Winnipeg] and I want to honour that and look up to those people who came before."
Del Barber, presented the Winnipeg Folk Festival, performs at The Park Theatre on March 20 and 21. The March 21 concert is sold out.