Thom Barker
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Thom Barker

Band Folk Alternative

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Music

Press


"CD Review"

"[Barker] explores the emotions of love lost and found and the folksy result is a CD that can bring the listener close to tears." - The Interior News (Smithers, BC)


"CD Review"

"A fine, young talent with a knack for telling poignant and meaningful stories." - The Ottawa X Press


"Concert Review"

"His thoughtfully written lyrics convey bittersweet feelings and idealistic politics."
- The Ottawa Citizen


"Concert Review"

"... a good-natured guitar waving rebel." - The Charlatan (Carleton University)


Discography

2008: Twice the Usual
1995: The Forest for the Trees

Photos

Bio

Born in Regina, raised and educated in Ottawa, politicized in Jamaica and Cuba, transformed in Labrador, enlightened in Indonesia, pragmatized in Texas and mellowed in Northern British Columbia, Thom Barker has been around a bit coming full circle when he landed back in Saskatchewan in 2007.

With a piano-teaching mother and English-teaching father, songwriting may have been in Barker’s genes. Inspired by great lyricists such as Bruce Cockburn, Ferron and Leonard Cohen, he cut his musical teeth on the pub, club and festival circuits of early-to-mid 1990s Ottawa. With one foot in the old school folk camp and the other in the emerging alt-rock realm, the Thom Barker Band was never quite at home in either giving birth to Barker’s signature “Frantic Folk” style and two albums, Regent Street (1991) and The Forest for the Trees (1996).

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by long, sometimes difficult self-conditioning, the now forty-something singer-songwriter took an extended hiatus from recording and performing from 1997 to 2002 when he formed, in Austin, Texas, the band Bubba Algorithm -- a reincarnation of the Thom Barker Band with brother and long-time keyboardist/bassist Ken Barker. Shortly thereafter, Thom and Ken started recording a new album, Twice the Usual.

After Barker returned to Ottawa in 2003 to reconnect with his two sons, Bryen and Patrick, the album sat on a shelf while he established himself as a freelance journalist and dabbled in musical theatre and comedy.

In 2005, a job offer from a newspaper took Barker to Smithers, B.C. where he won numerous awards for his insightful writing and met now-wife Lorraine. When her burgeoning career in healthcare management drew the couple to Saskatchewan, it also provided an opportunity to dust off the shelved recordings and finish Barker’s third disc.

Completed and released in 2008, Twice the Usual refines the angst-ridden brashness of Barker’s earlier offerings into a mélange of bittersweet reflection based on a lifetime of desperately seeking meaning and purpose in an uncompromising world.

And although battered by life and mellowed by age, Barker remains an unapologetic romantic.

“I think people miss a lot by obsessing over happiness and not fully embracing the entire spectrum of their emotions,” he says.

A writer and musician by vocation, a geologist by education and a Jack-of-all-trades by necessity, Barker continues to play music and freelance for newspapers and magazines while working part-time as a municipal administrator for a small Saskatchewan village and enjoying a laid-back life with Lorraine -- and more cats than he cares to admit -- on their lakefront home near Fort Qu’Appelle.