PREMIERE: Jazz Guitarist Dave Barber Reimagines Country Classic In Dynamic Instrumental Version Of ‘Cowpoke’

Canadian jazz guitarist Dave Barber brings a dynamic edge to instrumental music with his slow-burn version of the country classic, “Cowpoke,” which officially dropped today, May 26th.

Originally written by Stan Jones and performed by Elton Britt and the Skytoppers in 1951, Barber brings a unique new flair to the mid-century track. The song romanticizes the roving lives of cowboys, but does not forget to mention some of their hardships. Canadian country singer-songwriter Colter Wall also covered the song in 2019, which generated a new buzz around it.

Barber’s take is something different, as he strips the song of its lyrics and only focuses on the instrumentals that bring the audience on a poignant journey with the sound. It starts with a slow drum and then his signature guitar tone, then gradually introduces the bass. It is a slow-burn in the truest sense, as it builds to the climax, ending on a musical high.


The song features Harvey Kostenchuck (drums) and Kirby Barber (bass), each of which hold down the slow and low rhythm for Barber to soar atop.

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Barber has worked with the likes of Colin James, The Chieftains and Shari Ulrich among others, and besides releasing music, he also teaches online and in-person classes. He has won several awards for his music, including the British Columbia Country Music Award and the Canadian Gospel Music Award.

Barber is set to release his debut instrumental album, Molly’s Eyes, next month, which is noted as a “modern journey back to traditional and original music.” His first solo work will blend elements of folk, roots, country, and jazz. 

His previous singles include “Molly’s Eyes,” “Inside Looking Out,” and “Paris In My Dreams” that flaunt his flexibility in creating both upbeat and solemn sounds.

With dynamic versatility in his projects, Dave Barber is an exciting and unique instrumentalist to keep an eye on.

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