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Jill Barber eyes human connection at Mary Winspear

She’ll perform songs from her 10th album, Homemaker, with themes of domesticity, partnerships, parenting and aging.
Canadian singer-songwriter Jill Barber is a three-time Juno Award nominee. (Jessica Jacobson)

Three-time Juno-nominated singer-songwriter Jill Barber headlines the Charlie White Theatre at the Mary Winspear Centre on April 17th, where she’ll showcase her 10th album Homemaker and some of her greatest hits.

Born and raised in Toronto, Barber moved west to Vancouver for love 15 years ago. This will be her third time playing the Mary Winspear.

Barber, 43, said the creation of Homemaker was a return to her songwriting roots in a shining 20-year career.

“I wrote all of these songs at home on acoustic guitar, occasionally collaborating with other songwriters. They’re all about my homelife and a real return to my roots. I dig into themes around domesticity, long-term partnerships, parenting and aging.”

Becoming a mom has also changed her lifestyle and perspective.

”It’s given me purpose. I think I’ve gone deeper when it comes to love and commitment. And when it comes to responsibility and taking care of people.”

Barber, inspired by Canadian icons Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen growing up, kicks off her tour in White Horse, before playing a series of gigs in B.C., then heading east. She’ll also play many summer festivals, including the iconic Mariposa Folk Festival.

“Ultimately the destination is to get in front of people and play these songs live, in the hope they’ll resonate and connect us through a shared human experience. That drives me as a musician,” Barber reflected.

Picking up a guitar for the first time aged 14, inspired by older brother Matthew (also a singer-songwriter), the dream to make a full-time career in music gradually solidified.

“I’m lucky I knew what I wanted to do; and doubly lucky I’ve been able to do it. Nothing else speaks to me in the way music does.

“With every album I’m trying to figure out, what can I say that I haven’t said before? I’m happy Homemaker offers something new and fresh.”

Barber describes her genre as “smokey folky” and often sings in flawless French.

Headlining Toronto’s Massey Hall was a proud moment and performing in Tokyo her most memorable venue—but still going strong 20 years in is her proudest achievement.

Barber plans to perform as a trio in Sidney, inviting friends Paul Rigby (guitar) and Erik Nielsen (bass) along for the ride.

And what would she like her legacy to be?

“I think that I shared some of my human experience and made other people feel less lonely because my music was relatable. I know that when I’m lonely or lost, I turn to music. And if my music does that for other people, that’s a legacy my children’s children will be proud of.”

To learn more about Barber and her music, visit:

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