A native of Manitoba, Canada, Del Barber left the prairie as a teenager but found home calling him back. With his dusty fourth album, Prairieography, he aims to introduce people to the lifestyle he grew up with.
“The landscape of the prairies has the most influential force on my songwriting,” Barber says. “My belief is that you can’t separate people from place. The prairies themselves have a subtle beauty … and the people that work the land — be it grain, cattle — have deep connection with it, and they rely on it for their survival. These are the people that I spend my time around and, I guess, who I am and indeed how my songs get written.”
For “Living With a Long Way to Go,” the singer-songwriter describes a struggling rancher who decides to give up and head for the oil fields, but it’s far from a rugged country weeper. Barber pairs disappointment with a quick tempo and an almost carefree delivery.
His character doesn’t seem sad to leave his current situation at all when he sings, “The wind ain’t the only thing that blows.”
With big-sky simplicity in mind, Barber’s video is a no-frills performance of the song. But with the seasons changing and chores to do, who’s got time for theatrics?
Prairieography will be released in the U.S. on Tuesday (April 15). Check out Del Barber’s prairie-fied country sound on “Living With a Long Way to Go.”