Interview: Matthew Barber & Jill Barber

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She’s a little bit jazzy, he’s a little bit rock n’ roll.   Now, Canada’s beloved Jill Barber and Matthew Barber have decided to join forces to collaborate on appropriately-named The Family Album due for release on April 1st—a first for the siblings, who have forged their own paths to established and noteworthy music careers.

“We’ve sung on each other’s records over the years, toured together some, but we’d never collaborated on one album. I brought the idea up to Matt, we’ve talked about it basically our whole careers,” explains Jill.  “The timing was right; it was a long time coming.”  “I take my queues from Jill a lot of times anyway, and she said the time was tight, so we went for it!” adds devoted brother Matthew with a laugh.

The pair sat down together to calibrate their ideas, and both say the plan came together effortlessly and naturally.  “We also wanted to do some original songs, and try our hand at some covers.  We also ended up doing a couple of songs that were new to us.  It’s very ‘Canadiana’—Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, artists we love,” says Jill, who recalls that Neil Young was neutral musical territory for family road trips when she and Matthew were kids.  “We wanted to pay homage to the great Canadian songwriters who inspired us to do what we do.”  “All along, we said we didn’t want to take a specifically Canadian angle on it; we consciously decided that we didn’t want that to be the criteria for a song to make it onto the album.  It was funny that it ended up being in that Canadian-Americana framework,” adds Matthew.  If it felt magical when the duo sang the song together, then it was a keeper for the album.  Tracks like Neil Young’s “Comes A Time” and “Song To A Seagull” which Matthew says hold significance to the siblings.  Matthew and Jill brought that magic to the studio, and surrounded themselves with some amazing musicians to play on the project; “It was like a dream team for us,”  he recalls.

They plan to take the show on the road (literally!), touring in Canada and playing some dates in the States (fingers crossed they make it to Nashville).  Touring together will also present some firsts for the artists; “Jill just had her second baby, I’m a proud uncle! It’s going to be a transition touring with my sister, my baby niece, and from time to time our beautiful mother who will be along to help out,” says Matthew. “It’s truly a family affair. It’s very close to our hearts; compared to what we’ve done in the past, we’re dipping our toes into the Americana style.  We’re really excited about that.”

Pre-order The Family Albumamzn.com/B01ATVMAHU

Susan Hubbard

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