Toronto-based singer-songwriter Matthew Barber returns with his fourth studio album on February 23, 2010 on Outside Music. True Believer is the follow-up to the internationally acclaimed and Juno-nominated record Ghost Notes (2008, Outside Music); Barber enlisted producer and local hero Howie Beck (Hayden, Jason Collett) to man the helm. The result has been an artistic alchemy that takes Barber’s trademark melodies to new heights. Plans are being set for him to tour Canada, the U.S., Europe, Australia and beyond in support of this fine record.
True Believer is an uplifting record, continuing the trajectory that began with Ghost Notes. Of course there are pensive moments - Barber, after all, made his name crafting beautiful but heartbreakingly “sad” songs on earlier records like Means and Ends (2003, Paper Bag) and Sweet Nothing (2005, Warner) - but the overarching themes of love, hope and wonderment ultimately carry the day.
"On this record, Howie and I aimed to get the songs across in a clear and direct way by letting the lyrics, melodies and rhythm do the work and only adding embellishments when it was really called for,” says Barber. “The result is a mixture of stripped-down live performances and more produced tracks that hopefully live together as part of a unified musical statement."
Stylistically, True Believer doesn’t deviate radically from Barber’s previous albums, but the presentation is markedly more crisp and confident. It’s also diverse: True Believer is a hearty homemade soup with a broth heavily steeped in the rock’n’roll singer-songwriter tradition of Neil Young, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen; yet it features dashes of the ashes of Hank Williams, the soul of Al Green, the spirit of Paul Simon and the timeless essence of The Band.