It all started with a Facebook friend request.
Back in January, Grammy-award-winning producer and music engineer Malcolm Burn added local singer-songwriter Sean Barrette to his friends list on the social media website.
Burn is known for producing and engineering albums for the likes of Emmy-Lou Harris, Blue Rodeo and Bob Dylan.
Even the electronic handshake was enough to put Barrette over the moon.
“I was just like 'Wow, I can't even believe we're friends on Facebook.'”
Barrette said Burn has produced some of his favourite albums, including those by Chris Whitley and Junkhouse.
When Barrette got married to wife Lara, their first-dance song, "Big Sky Country", was from a Whitley album produced by Burn.
The musician, who figures Burn found him through mutual Facebook friends, said he sent the producer his first album, "Live Through This", which was released a little more than two years ago.
When Barrette released his second album, "Signs", this past summer, he sent Burn a copy of that CD as well.
The album is very much a made-in-Sudbury product.
Recorded at Sudbury's Cosmic Dave's Sound Emporium, it features songs written by Barrette, and even one co-written by his young son Evan, and instrumentation by local musicians such as Matt Foy and Brian Dunn.
“A few weeks ago, he got back to me and said 'I really like the album, and the songs, and I like your voice. Would you be interested in having me remix the album?'”
Barrette jumped at the offer.
“I was like 'It's not done anymore. I guess we can all change that period to a comma.'”
He said he's already gotten the remixed album back, and it's now like he has two totally different versions of "Signs". He said sound engineers tend to have distinct styles.
While Barrette is excited, he said he's trying not to get too far ahead of himself. He said he'll release the remixed album on iTunes and his website, www.seanbarrette.ca, and hope for the best.
“I think having Malcolm work on it, because of his track record and the other people he's worked with, and the fact that I love his style, is awesome,” Barrette said. “Where I go from there I don't really know.”
When contacted by Northern Life, Burn said in an email Barrette is an “authentic and original” songwriter, comparing him to Gordon Lightfoot and Stompin' Tom Connors.
“His songs ring true with the unique experience of life in the north of Ontario,” he said.
“I was initially struck by the honesty and truth of his lyrics, as well as the memorability of his melodies. For me, these two ingredients are the real recipe for a great writer.
“I don't come across writers like him as often as I'd hope to, so when I do, I'm always excited. So I figured I'd help give him a kick in the pants a little higher up the ladder.”