Leave it up to Del Barber to find the words to sublimely catch the mood of our times within a single, succinct catch phrase: “The whole world goes to shit, and I Still Got You.”
With the first single from his upcoming eighth album, “Almanac” (due in Spring 2023 on Acronym Records), “I Still Got You”, JUNO nominee Del Barber whimsically summarizes the turbulent ruckus that swirls around most of us these days – a prairie wind of bad news and false opinions. While the wider world seems pitched toward a reckoning of immeasurable import, Del marks his time inventorying the small yet vitally essential elements of life lived under the stars, with a loved one, children, family and friends, revealing that no matter what’s going on, in the end that’s all we’ve really got – each other.
As he so aptly demonstrated on his last album, “Straw Dogs,” Barber has a knack for the fine details and nuances of storytelling, often which get overlooked in this stressed out modern world – much of it self induced. He layers pieces of the puzzle together to form a picture of a man, clearly aware of how lucky he is, while acknowledging that “thunderheads groan out to the east”– kind of like a pre-apocalyptic postcard. Even though the news ain’t great, you sure have to meet the times with a swinging back beat and big assed grin – maybe the only philosophical position left to take.
“I Still Got You” starts with a clever little acoustic guitar lick, followed by sweet sultry slide, sounding like it’s howling at “Jupiter and Mars,” over the rise. Channeling a touch of Mississippi John Hurt mixed with a heaping handful of Willie P. Bennett, Del’s acoustic finger picked pattern sets a deep groove that his talented band cooks behind in a simple, infectious swing.
With the band in lock step, Del takes his time, as only he can, telling his story of walking out under a dark Manitoba night sky on his remote farm, north of Winnipeg, recognizing that he has a lot to be thankful for. “The stars looked like they were crammed in the sky like sardines, the wolves were howling, cows were bawling,” Barber remembers. “I had my dog Fischer next to me. I realized how lucky I was to have this life; the simplicity, the isolation, all of it.”
No matter the circumstances of one’s life, its hard not to immediately relate to the clarity of insight Barber humorously lays before us. “I’m lucky in love, my belly’s full, never could grab the horns of a bull, try to believe the man on the news, the whole world goes to shit, while I still got you.”
Photo Credit: Artist Website