Thursday, February 20, 2014
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: DEL BARBER - PRAIRIEOGRAPHY
There's a trade-off to be made as he gets away from folk lyrics, his strength, to the more down-home and upbeat stuff. Barber tries to tread the fine line between simple, heartfelt numbers and corny lyrics. We get the story of Peter And Jenny Lee, a love affair between the front desk clerk and the cleaner, which is just too sappy: "She was rolly and polly and able/he hired her under the table". Country Girl is so simplistic its inconsequential, "Walkin' downtown with a country girl on my arm," over a bouncy beat.
But Barber shows his deft writing chops on the big city versus. small town upbringing, Big Smoke: "We used to fly through the woods on the back of quarter horses," not surprisingly a reflective piece that sees him back on the roots side. There's a lot more meat on the bones on that one, or Yellowhead Road, where a young man makes a drastic mistake, agreeing to smuggle drugs in his 18-wheeler. I'm not somebody with a problem with country music, and love lots of it, but some of these tunes just seem dumbed down, which doesn't have to happen in country.