Matthew Barber returns with Big Romance his 8th studio album, available May 27th on the Outside Music Label. Barber, who self-produced his last two albums, jumped at the opportunity to have Jayhawks frontman, and leader of the Americana movement, Gary Louris come on board “I’ve been a lifelong fan of Gary’s music with The Jayhawks and Golden Smog as well as his production work with (Outside Music label-mates) The Sadies,” says Barber, adding that “it was a thrill to get to make a record with one of my contemporary musical heroes.”
Big Romance was recorded in Toronto at Revolution Sound as well as Greg Keelor’s farmhouse studio in eastern Ontario. Drummer Dean Stone reunited with former Apostle of Hustle band-mate and long-time Barber bassist Julian Brown to make up the rhythm section, marking the first time the two have backed Barber on record since his breakout 2003 debut Means and Ends. Big Romance also features gorgeous piano and organ work from Jesse O’Brien and Steve O’Connor, exquisite backing vocals from Michelle McAdorey, guitar and vocals from Louris and a guest appearance by Barber’s sister Jill who appears on the lead track “Hold Me”. Big Romance has soul-searching ballads, foot-stomping rockers, some groovy mid-tempo tunes and hooks-a-plenty. Tragedy is explored in both personal loss with an ode to a departed friend in the song“Magic Greg”, and in the events that took place on the 505 streetcar line that runs along Toronto’s Dundas Street, steps away from Barber’s house on the evening of July 27, 2013.
“Big Romance is a wide-reaching idea on this record,” says Barber, a lyricist not shy to play a romantic card. “Some songs are about love, but others deal with death, despair and that which lurks in the shadows that are cast when the fires of passion burn bright. With this title I want to embrace the idea that while it can be artistically-liberating to give in to romance completely, one must also be able to step outside with a wink and recognize that sometimes romance goes no deeper than the stuff of a good song.