Kevin Barr’s first solo album, Lost and Found, may have taken only eight days to complete, but it has been years in the making.
“It’s called Lost and Found because it really is: there are a lot of tunes that may have been lost to many people, but I have found that when I play them, it sparks memories for some,” he said.
Barr first picked up a guitar at age nine and grew up in a musical family with his fiddle-playing father and accordion-playing grandmother. He’s now been playing for a little over 40 years.
“There was a lot of music around the kitchen table and in the back yard, so I was very much influenced by that growing up. And just old songs, or songs that would be relevant or popular to them, I really liked that.
“I really learned by watching my Dad’s friends’ fingers move around on the fretboard and, when I got my guitar, I just remembered what they did and listened to a Merle Haggard album, years ago, and I would try to get my guitar to sound like what I was hearing on the record player … and then I started to sing,” explained Barr.
Barr said country music, which was once hillbilly music, has changed over the years and that what he sings and plays is now known more as roots music, which is “honest” and “simple”.
Barr has recorded and co-written albums with the Undertakin Daddies, a group he co-founded and was lead singer for.
With the “Daddies”, Barr got to experience Europe and the States, and the band was nominated in 2001 for a Juno, and in 2002 for a Western Canadian Music Award.
Although the majority of Lost and Found comes from memory lane, he also wrote some songs, including Fight the Good Fight, for his children.
“I really started out to just record songs for family and friends and especially those that inspired me when I was a little kid because they’re all getting on and I wanted to be able to record a bunch of those tunes and say, ‘Thank you’, here.
“And so that’s really why this came about: I always wanted to record my own CD, but it just kind of all started to come together. Those became the tunes I felt I wanted to record, and in the studio it was just kind of bang, bang, bang …
“I really hadn’t planned any of them. I was just sitting there and I did this one next and that one next and that’s enough, we’ve got enough now, it’s done,” Barr said.
The album was entirely made out-of-pocket by Barr and was recorded with Tim Jeffrey, formerly of the Honky Tonk Heroes, at his Riverfront studio in Bragg Creek, Alberta, where Barr admits there were the occasional teary-eyed recording sessions.
Music may have already taken him on journeys across the United States, Europe, to Africa and most parts of Canada, but in the new year, Barr will be heading to the Philippines with this album.
“I’ve kind of learned to just be solid in my own music, and although there’s a bit of apprehension, I’m hoping that people like the music and knowing while I was doing it, it was more for the love of the songs and that was the feeling … to do that because that’s what it was really about,” he said.
The official CD-launch party happened at The Old Fire Hall on Nov. 14. He was joined by sons Mike and Jona and by Tim Jeffrey, Chuck Charlebois, Marg Tatum, Bruce Bergman and Art Johns.
On Nov. 20, Barr will play with Boyd Bejnamin in Atlin, B.C., at the Globe Theatre. For more information, visit www.kevinbarrmusic.com.