Barrie Davis
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Barrie Davis

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"The Overlander"

Adelaide, Australia-based British expat folksinger Barrie Davis, making his third tour of Canada in as many years, celebrates the release of his latest CD, The Busker's Waltz, with a concert performance tonight at Hugh's Room, 2261 Dundas St. W.

Affectingly retro in style, Davis is a compelling entertainer with a powerful baritone, a penchant for grand sentimental ballads and the songs of Eric Bogle, and a grab-bag of humorous yarns, poems and commentaries that he has woven into a sort of Down Under cabaret entitled "Australia in Song and Story."

He's also the master of a beautiful Australian-made Maton 12-string guitar.

It's mellifluous tones are worth the price of admission alone. $14 at the door.

Greg Quill, Entertainment Columnist - Toronto Star

"Folk Federation of South Australia"

Barrie Davis is a talented Australian folk performer, possessed of a deep resonant voice perfectly complemented by the magic tone of his 12 string guitar. He has an impressive repertoire of material ranging from the outrageously funny to the heart-wrenchingly sad and covering most of the ground between those two extremes.

Perhaps the most appealing quality in Barrie’s performances is his ability to communicate with an audience, to understand what people are thinking and feeling as they listen to him and to switch subjects from funny to serious at a moment’s notice. He makes you think, he makes you laugh and sometimes he makes you sad as he explores the human experience in word and song. And of course there is his magnificent collection of songs about trains, guaranteed to get your feet tapping and your pulses racing! - Cherie Harvey, President

"Coonawarra Has Three Shadows"

In his new CD "Coonawarra Has Three Shadows" Barrie Davis takes us on a vocally rich and resonant excursion through Australia's life and times, from the poignant colonial story of "Mrs Thomas Moore", to life in industry ("Turning Steel" and "The Navvies") to agriculture ("Heart of the Land" and "Send her down Hughie") and on through the goldfields (NZ) ("Farewell to the Gold") and celebrates the sweeping and romantic history of the country's riverboats in the title track, by local singer/songwriter Judith Crossley.
The journey is wide-ranging and thankfully achieved without "diddle-diddle-dummery" or the click of a single shear!! A thoughtful international/migrant perspective in Enda Kenny's "Child of Prague" adds depth, while continuing un-addressed community concerns about pollution are voiced in Bernard Bolan's "Not Many Fish"
Barrie's passion for train songs, with which he's totally at home, led to the inclusion of the Broken Hill inspired "Silver City Comet".
If you've made it through life thus far with your sense of humour intact, you'll love the wickedly delicious observations of Bernard Bolan's "The Gnome".
Added to this mix are a couple of "Australian Classics" , Mike McClellan's "Saturday Dance" and the under-appreciated Kevin Johnson's "Rock n' Roll". This eclectic personal selection, which also includes two verse readings ("The Navvies and "The Sleeper Cutter's Camp") has something to please everyone and is a great showcase for Barrie and his fellow musicians.
- Carole Whitelock, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

"Rain On The Tin"

“Rain On The Tin” is Barrie Davis’ third CD and is probably his best so far - It is very impressive listening ! From the first strum of his 12 string on the introduction to “Rain ..” to the fading flute accompaniment on Mick Hanly’s beautiful “Crusader” we are treated to a range of contemporary songs telling the stories of both the good times and the hardships of life in modern day Australia. The songs here given the powerful ‘deep baritone’ Davis treatment, include work by some of the finest songwriters in Australia today, such as Eric Bogle, Enda Kenny, John Warner and John Williamson, to name but a few, and include equally stirring efforts by Barrie himself, and a thought provoking title track by Adelaide musician Michael McGregor. The songs range from the tragic “He Fades Away” by Scot, Alistair Hulett, who himself spent several years living in Australia to the delightfully cheeky ode to “Earl Grey” by brilliant songsmith Kenny, and Bernard Carney’s wonderfully humorous “Bronchial Dilated Blues”. Barrie also includes a couple of his favourite train songs and to break the Australian mould, he gives us a rendition of “The Vicar & the Frog”- for good measure – always a crowd favourite. Mention must be made of some brilliant musicianship behind Barrie’s powerful vocals on a number of tracks, including flutist Michelle Spencer and multi-instrumentalist Jamie Baldwin, plus Terry Ford and Rod Cheshire. Somehow, Barrie manages to make these songs sound as though they were written for him – even though they might be quite familiar in another setting – as in “A Bushman Can’t Survive”, which could almost have been a ‘sub-title’ for the album, being about the contrasting lifestyle in the city and the “bush” of Australia. Overall, you’ll find, on “Rain On The Tin”, in one neat package, some of the best songs from or about Australia today, serious and humorous, happy or sad - all ably presented by Barrie Davis’s powerful voice and his big 12 string guitar – have a listen, you won’t be disappointed ! - Ron Higgins, Cellar Folk Club, Port Lincoln

"Comments from presenters"

Barrie Davis treats his audiences well. The sort of performer who can get you laughing one minute and crying the next, I've seen Barrie work magic in workshop and Main Stage performances alike. He has a terrific songbook comprised of contemporary pieces that, if you haven't heard before, you'll be glad to hear now.

Michael Martyn, Artistic Director, Peterborough Folk Festival, Peterborough, Ontario

Barrie Davis is an Aussie songster - that's a term we don't use much any more - who sings material (mostly written by others) that relate to his country, its geography, its people, and the forces that have made Australia what it is. Including, of course, British colonialism, an abused Aboriginal underclass, outlaws like Ned Kelly, some of the strangest animals in the world, Bondi Beach, sheep shearing, Henry Lawson, and the most hospitable, friendly people on the planet. Canada hasn't had anyone quite like him, at least since Alan Mills and Wade Hemsworth left us.

I won't say more. Barrie Davis ain't "hip" and his voice and his songs won't get him onto commercial radio, but I've not heard many people who can charm you into understanding a story, or a whole continent, in the way that he can.

Richard Flohil, Publicist, Toronto, Ontario

Barrie is a very talented and entertaining artist. He has really easy, comfortable stage presence, taking to the audience as if they were all old friends, and putting everyone at ease.

Barrie has a deep, resonant voice, with an easy, flowing singing style.

His music is good. Funny, touching, whimsical - he covers it all. As he put it "I never stay serious for long". He varies the pace and keeps up audience interest. His hour flew by leaving us all thinking he'd only been playing for five mutes.

Louise Peacock, Outrageous Fall, Toronto, Ontario

Barrie Davis is an engaging entertainer who loves to travel, tell a great story, and invite us into his world through visual lyrics and his warm voice. Not only are we invited in as listeners, but we want to stay in that space a while, rest.... and become arm chair travellers through his musical 'walkabouts.'

Laurie-Ann Copple, CKCU FM, Ottawa, Ontario

Just in from Australia - Barrie Davis, a tall dark man with a deep, dark, warm voice wowed Victoria Folk Music Society tonight. He's in town for a week, just finished a whirlwind tour and gigs on Vancouver Island. He can draw the audience in and hold them with stories in song about people, Australia and even silly things like not being able to get a cup of real tea.

Hearing his voice you immediately feel the warmth and connection he establishes with each audience. I saw him capture an entire room and involve them in the song within the first verse. His skill as an entertainer is impressive. Barrie is also famous for his sizable collection of railroad songs. Railroading, farming, life in the outback and in the city --Barrie has songs for everyone.

Juliana McCorison, Victoria Folk Music Society, Victoria, BC

Barrie Davis is an engaging performer who easily draws in an audience with humour, a warm voice and marvellous songs. His distinctive repertoire ensures a performance many audiences will not forget.

Jan Vanderhorst, Just Us Folk, CKPC-FM 92.1, Brantford, Ontario

Barrie is a great entertainer with a rich deep Aussie voice. He mixes his material well and effortlessly switches from songs which tell stories to delightfully witty and humorous ditties. As well as being well entertained I learned a lot about Australian people and culture from his concert! Makes you want to go there!

Allan McKeown, Sarnia, Ontario.

Barrie is not just a folk singer, but is an entertainer. When he's on stage the audience is treated to not only a fine voice, but a repertoire of songs that ensures there's something for everyone, all tied together with stories that will make you laugh and cry

Cam Kemp, Black Walnut Folk Club, Kitchener, Ontario

Barrie Davis voice has a rich, deep quality reminiscent of Stan Rogers. His stories engage the audience.

Sher DiCiccio, Executive Director, Waterloo Community Arts Centre, Waterloo, Ontario

Truly one of Australia's soon to be classic performers. Barrie Davis’s voice reminds me of Bing Crosby - truly a classic.

Glenn Stevenson, Music Coordinator, The Big Breakfast and Wired, A Channel, Calgary, Alberta

We hosted our first House Concert last summer and were blessed with a dynamite artist, folk singer Barrie Davis!

For one too short, but wonderful evening, Barrie brought to our home the need to visit Australia if we have not had that pleasure and the strong desire to return if we have. And for those of us who will only visit in our dreams, the sense that a tiny bit of Australia had made its mark in our hearts.

His songs, his stories and his affable personality 'wowed' all of us, and left my fellow Canadians a sense of kinship with the people of Australia. A wonderful evening thanks to a true ambassador for Australia,

Good luck Barrie and Godspeed!

Marg and Gary Miron, Acton Island, Lake Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Before I attended the concert at Rasputins, I had never even heard of one of Australia's best kept secrets, Barrie Davis. This man, with his 6 foot 4 frame is a striking figure when you first see him and, as he walked to the stage, I had no idea what to expect. The first strum of his warm 12 string guitar immediately made me relax and lean my head back to take it all in. Then, a rich, mellow baritone voice began to dance over the underlying chords and I was taken on an odyssey that I would gladly experience again.

Not only was Barrie Davis a man with a golden voice, he also proved to be a masterful storyteller. He captivated the audience with the intriguing tales behind his songs, making us laugh, making us reflect, making us want more. He educated us on the scarcity of rain in Australia, and how his song "Rain on the Tin" tells the story of an Australian farmer and his wife waiting for the rain on the tin roof to tell them whether they would have a crop or not that season. He made us laugh with the comical story of "The Vicar and the Frog", a brilliantly funny and satirical social commentary. The song "Mrs. Thomas Moore" recounted a tale about Australia's past as a convict settlement and the sad plight of, in particular, the female convicts who were sent to Botany Bay.

I found it amazing to experience how effortlessly Barrie Davis took me from sad to happy to reflective to downright splitting my sides laughing. Then, of course, there were the times he invited us to sing along with the chorus of songs we had never heard before, but sing we did.

Many times I have gone to concerts and enjoyed myself, but by the end of the evening I felt tired and ready to go home. This was one of those rare occasions when the end of the evening came too quickly and I didn't want to go home. I wanted to stay for one more set, one more song and I didn't want to hear that he would be returning home soon for the start of Australia's summer. What a rewarding evening!

Hazel May Lebrun

There is a wonderful feeling that fills the listener when presented with familiar songs delivered in well crafted original arrangements matched to a voice that can evoke heartfelt emotion. Barrie delivers that feeling.

Dean Verger
Rasputin's Folk Cafe, Ottawa, Ontario

Barrie has a great voice and a very interesting and varied collection of songs

Dennis McMaster
Rocky Mountain Folk Club, Calgary, Alberta - Various


Just For Starters
Coonawarra Has Three Shadows
Rain On The Tin
The Busker's Waltz



Barrie Davis was born in England and migrated to Australia as a teenager, living in Sydney for 17 years where he met and married his wife Roslyn, who comes from Liverpool in England. In 1981 they moved to Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, where they live amongst the birds and possums of the Adelaide hills.
Barrie started his working life in electronics engineering and progressed to management and corporate troubleshooting roles. His creative urges were satisfied by performing folk music as often as possible, plus a 30 year involvement in photography and woodturning. Five years ago he turned his back on the corporate world to become a full time musician.
Barrie has been singing for as long as he can remember, starting as a child in school choirs. As a teenager he was attracted to the music of the skiffle era and then to the reviving folk music scene, with its strong protest element. His early musical influences included The Weavers, Joan Baez, Peter Paul & Mary and The Kingston Trio. As he grew up he developed the deep voice which was to become his trademark and the songs of Jim Reeves led to country music and artists such as Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. Later the work of Stan Rogers and Eric Bogle influenced his style and choice of material. These days his focus is on contemporary Australian folk music and humourous material, plus of course his endless and unexplained fascination with railroad songs.
Barrie credits The Rooftop Singers with their wonderful album "Walk Right In" for his exposure to the 12 string guitar. At the time this album was released he was playing an expensive 6 string instrument and finances did not allow a second guitar. Then fate intervened and on a camping trip in New South Wales he and his wife were caught in a flood and their car and its contents (including the 6 string guitar) were washed away. Insurance paid for a new instrument and Barrie opted for his first 12 string, a beautiful sounding Yamaha which travelled all over Australia with him. The Yamaha was replaced after a very hard life and he now plays an Australian-made Maton 12 string instrument.
Barrie is tall and bearded with a sense of humour which ranges from the impish to the macabre, with a collection of humorous songs to match.
Barrie is a regular performer at Australian folk clubs and folk festivals, accompanied by his wife (who describes herself as his “roadie”) . He toured Ontario in 2002 and returned to Canada for a 4 month tour in 2004. He is now committed to a schedule of almost full time overseas touring.