CFN – This months performances at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage once again included some great Canadian talent in the form of Del Barber and Brea Lawrenson.
Brea Lawrenson is a 24 year old singer-songwriter who shows plenty of poise, determination and confidence on the stage. This is a return engagement for Brea and since her last visit she has signed with a Nashville recording group and is beginning to tour to promote her recently released album “Somewhere To Go”. She was joined by her brother Sean as she started the night with a combination of her own compositions and well known tunes that suited her vocal talents. I think the song which best demonstrated her strong vocals this evening was the Black Crows composition of “She Talks To Angels”. The song in the clip I included here is one of her own compositions entitled “Hold On”.
Del Barber is a Manitoba boy and shows his heritage proudly in his stories and his music. Once again I am going to plagiarize the excellently well written program from the St. Lawrence Stage.
“Del Barber has found a new home on stage, winning audiences across Canada and the United States with raw talent and ample doses of charm. With wide-eyed ambition and a work ethic second to none, in two short years, Barber has released tow full length records and found the time to tour coast to coast twice, playing well over 300 dates everywhere from Halifax to Albuquerque.”
Del also has an impressive list of awards and nominations but I was most impressed by his live on stage performance. He has been compared to Townes Van Zandt, Greg Brown, Neil Young and John Prine but I would like to also throw in Arlo Guthry and Pete Seeger. His style is folk/country and he does that very well. During his performance he preceded each song with a related humorous personal story which rivals the story telling talents of Stuart McLean of the CBC Vinyl Café. To quote the program once again:
“Barber’s capacity to weave experiences and characters stems from a keen understanding of narrative, phrasing and metaphor. These are tied together by Barber’s polished finger-style guitar work, warm home town melodies and his inviting and intoxicating personality.”
Inviting and intoxicating personality is not exactly something that I would come up with. I won’t argue with it but it is not really my style, a little too gushy. What I can honestly say is that I did cruse the folk clubs in Toronto in the 1970’s and I have seen a lot of folk singers including Stan Rogers, John Prine, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton and James Taylor. Del’s performance last night rivals any of those that I have in my memory.