Lt.-Col. Tim Isberg is exhausted. He just returned in early December after a six-month tour in Afghanistan as chief of NATO’s literacy and language division.
The NATO-led $200 million project trained 220,000 members of the national army and police in basic literacy. For Isberg it was a 12-hour a day, seven day a week job.
With only a short week in Cyprus to debrief and decompress before returning home, it’s no wonder the professional military officer is relaxing and re-energizing the batteries.
Prior to the tour, Isberg was also a singer-songwriter who had developed a strong foothold in the local music scene before he was stationed halfway across the world.
“I haven’t even had the energy to unpack my guitar,” chuckles Isberg from his Sherwood Park home.
He had packed his guitar in his duffle bag and started a pop-rock band in Kabul dubbed The Band With No Name. At any given time there were three to six Canadian, American and British soldiers playing, depending on who was on rotation.
“It was a lot of effort, but it was good for morale, my own included,” Isberg said.
Although Isberg was stationed in the Middle East, and was unable to communicate much with acquaintances here, he was not forgotten in St. Albert.
This coming Saturday, Dec. 21, the lanky singer-songwriter is a special guest of the Darrell Barr Christmas Party at LB’s Pub.
“It’s great to be engaged and involved and welcomed for the work I do. To be asked to perform is a great feeling and indicative of the music community we have here,” said Isberg.
Off the top of his head, he’s planning to sing a set that combines originals, covers and a Christmas song.
It’s an evening that also brings out some of the area’s strongest support musical talents in the Darrell Barr Band – Don Marcotte (bass), Dennis Menneely (keyboards), Mark Scholz (drums) and St. Albert’s own Mark Puffer (guitar).
“I share quite a few musical friends with him,” said Barr. “When he came back he wanted to get back into the business and I thought this would be a great hero’s welcome for a great guy.”
Isberg is slated to open the evening at 8 p.m. with a one-hour set immediately followed by the band.
“We play such a large dance variety with everything from The Mavericks to Neil Diamond to country rock,” Barr added.
He will also feature a few tunes from Legacy, a new album that received a soft release in early October. The 11-track has the distinction of being recorded live in a warehouse.
“It’s going like hotcakes,” he said.
For Barr, the main goal of playing for a crowd is to make everyone happy.
“To have a wonderful time. To laugh. To dance with friends. To be content with your surroundings and to be with good friends.”
The cover charge is $20. Limited seating. Call for reservations at 780-460-9100.