Jill Barber draws on the romance and mystery of the moon for new album

'Mischievous Moon' takes the Vancouver chanteuse on the road this spring, away from her beloved West End home.

Credit: Alex Samur

Jill Barber in Vancouver

Canadian crooner Jill Barber’s new album ‘Mischievous Moon’ takes her on the road this spring, away from her beloved West End home


It’s an unusually blustery afternoon when I appear, windblown and breathless, at Jill Barber’s apartment door. Over tea, the singer-songwriter tells me about her plans to travel to Ajijic, Mexico, with her six-piece band to play for a community of snowbirds at the Northern Lights Music Festival. After that, she’ll jet to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a five-day video shoot for her new single “Tell Me.”


Jill Barber

Jill Barber at the Vogue

May 18, 2011


Vogue Theatre

918 Granville St, Vancouver


Tickets $42.50

All this after Barber journeyed to Southern France for a six-week intensive French program and to play at the world’s largest music industry trade fair recently.


And later on the horizon sits a spring tour through Ontario, Quebec and BC to promote her fourth album, Mischievous Moon, released on April 5, 2011, by Outside Music.


Barber’s frenetic accumulation of frequent flyer miles over the last few months is a product of the broad popular and critical acclaim she’s received of late.


When I ask what she misses most about Vancouver when’s she’s on tour, Barber smiles coyly:


“I miss my husband. I miss my home here. I feel very at home in the nest that I’ve built with him here.”


Two years ago, Barber uprooted and moved across the country from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to marry author and CBC Radio 3 personality Grant Lawrence—and it’s clear she’s smitten with both her husband and her new home in the city’s West End.


Jill Barber’s Vancouver favourites

Dinner spot: Nook

Lunch locale: Finch’s Teahouse

Music venue: The Media Club

Yoga studio: YYoga

Hair salon: Pome

Band: Said the Whale

“It’s no secret that the West End is one of the most beautiful places to live in Vancouver and I feel so lucky to live here—right next to the water, right next to the park, right on the seawall and right next to the beach,” Barber says.

“Definitely the crown jewel here in the West End is English Bay beach. What we may lack in great coffee shops—which we do, I’m sad to say—we make up for in opportunities to take in the best side of Vancouver.”


Jill Barber Mischievous Moon
Barber’s new album evokes a former era yet feels perfectly at home in the current one.


Jill Barber’s ‘Mischievous Moon’ draws on romance and mystery of the moon

With Vancouver’s supernatural beauty quite literally at her doorstep, it’s no wonder the title-track to Barber’s newly-minted fourth album is an ode to the moon:

“I really felt when I was writing this record the image that kept surfacing again and again was the moon—and the romance and mystery of the moon,” says Barber.


LISTEN: Jill Barber’s new album

Stream ‘Mischievous Moon’ via her website

“It’s always looking down on me—I feel like it’s a constant source of energy in my life. So I find myself looking up at the moon a lot.”

The balance of the whimsical, romantic tracks on Mischievous Moon transcend both place and time. Influenced by the old favourites like Ella Fitzgerald and Edith Piaf in her well stocked vinyl-collection, Barber’s music has a nostalgic, old-timey feel and depth.

“I like that despite the fact that my music maybe sounds old or from another era, it doesn’t sound like any one era,” she says. “I’m very influenced by old music… I’ve always been attracted to music that has stood the test of time, like old standards.”

Mischievous Moon is sure to resonate across the country, especially in Quebec, where she’s quickly drawing new audiences. On the album, Barber sings several tracks in French—a second-language she’s recently committed to mastering—and plans to continue recording in both languages on future albums.


“It’s become a goal of mine to speak French and sing more in French,” she explains. “Musically speaking and artistically speaking I think it’s a really sensual language and I love the shapes of words in French that are very different in English. So I feel that in singing in French I’m further expanding my palette and my ability to communicate.”


Don’t miss Jill Barber singing both in English and en Francais at her next concert at the Vogue on May 18.


Alex Samur

Alex Samur is a Vancouver-based writer, managing editor of rabble.ca and Commercial Drive nomad who appreciates the fine arts of lace knitting, small-space gardening and a well-made espresso. Twitter