When Jill Barber gets on stage at Max Cameron Theatre on Thursday, October 17, it will end a very special tour with the fulfillment of a long-standing wish.
“I’ve wanted to play in Powell River for a long time,” said Barber. “I played the Sunshine Music Festival with my brother a few years ago, but I haven’t done my own show here. It means a lot to me because I think of Powell River as a second home.”
The Juno-nominated artist has spent a lot of time in Desolation Sound at her husband Grant Lawrence’s family cabin.
“We had our first date there after a 2007 music festival in Dawson City, YT,” said Barber. “I was flying back through Vancouver, and he asked if I could stay a few days and go to the cabin with some friends. We’re married now with two kids, and we still spend as much time as we can out there. We’ve gotten to know a lot of people in Powell River, and I feel like part of the community, at least peripherally.”
Barber is currently on the last leg of her Dedicated to You tour. Each show is different because concertgoers communicate with Barber beforehand to request or dedicate songs.
“The amazing thing about music is that songs resonate with people in different ways, and I wanted to capture that experience on tour,” said Barber.
She recounted a story from a show where four different people had requested dedications of her song “Never Quit Loving You.”
“We started with a young man who dedicated the song to his girlfriend of six months, who he already couldn’t imagine living without,” she added. “I sang the first verse, then quieted the band down and went to the next person. This lovely woman got up and dedicated the song to her husband-to-be, and said the only thing that they’d really agreed upon in planning the wedding was that this was going to be their first dance song.”
Barber said she told them to take a dry run at it, but to just wait a moment because she had someone else to talk to.
“I passed the microphone to an older woman, who dedicated the song to her husband,” she added. “He’d been ill this past year, and she had said to his doctor at one point that he was the love of her life and she wasn’t quite ready to lose him.”
The final dedication was from a man who said the song reminded him of his late wife.
“He said it made him realize that love doesn’t have to happen between two people, it can still exist in just one heart,” said Barber. “I started singing again, and all these couples as well as many others in the venue got up and danced. It was a really beautiful, human moment, and the whole tour has been filled with them.”
Barber said not all the dedications are romantic, nor are people required to speak in front of the audience.
“I always give people the option of having me read their dedication,” she said. “We’ve had some really special moments between parents and children and between friends, and some people just want to hear a particular song. Every request or dedication is special and makes these concerts what they are.”
Barber will perform at Max Cameron Theatre, 5400 Marine Avenue, on Thursday, October 17, at 7:30 pm. For more information, to request a song or dedication, and to purchase tickets online, go to jillbarber.com/dedicatedtoyou.
Tickets are also available at the Powell River Peak office, Unit F, 4493 Marine Avenue.