The Barri Armitage Story
As a poet, but not a composer, Barri had not written songs until 1999 when a friend suggested she use folk tunes for the music. She found a song book featuring traditional folk music. Using a software program her husband, Dave, gave her, she began adapting sections of the Psalms and other Scripture into poetry and setting the lyrics to public domain melodies. Dave would sing the songs as she played the piano, and together they would make cassettes for those who wanted to hear them.
That fall, Rachel Franklin, an award-winning pianist, invited Barri and her husband to a recital she was performing while preparing for a concert at Carnegie Hall. It was there where Barri met Billy Kemp, a guitarist, who invited her to sit in on one of his recording sessions at Hit and Run Recording Studio.
This eventually led to Barri recording her first CD, "Think On These Things," in 2000 with Dave and others. Barri named her songs “Dovesongs” from Song of Songs 2:14 and called her website: dovesongs.com. To date, there are fifteen music albums and three compilation ones. Later, requests came to have the songs read as poetry with music background from related albums. In 2017 she released her first “spoken song” album, with four so far.
As of 2019, in response to requests, a book of lyrics with sixteen chapters from 264 original songs is available as a PDF download from the website. In a few places, a word or phrase might be different than is on the album because a decision for a revision was made after it was released. Often a new idea comes in the middle of the night! Also, sometimes a song was revised so she could read it as a spoken song in the third person tense when the original album had a male singer representing God speaking in the first person. This lyric book keeps the original words. Whether the words are sung, spoken, or written, each form gives a unique ray of light, bringing fresh insight into God’s Word.
In 2014, Barri began entering her songs in the song contest at Northwest Alabama Music Publishing Company and has won an award every year since. This year her album, "A Reason For Every Season, Spoken Songs," which won "First Place Christian CD 2019" in the song contest. The judges were Nashville musicians. The prizes were a Matthew guitar, a gold album plaque, and the CD has been sent to 200 radio stations worldwide.
You can find out more about her past awards on the Awards page
Barri was involved in the poetry world before writing songs. Early on, she studied poetry under James Dickey, a professor at the University of South Carolina, who later went on to become Poet Laureate in Washington. While living in Georgia, Barri taught poetry classes in the local schools, published numerous poems, and was poetry editor for "The Augusta Spectator.” She also studied under Stephen Corey, currently editor of The Georgia Review, a quarterly publication of essays, short fiction and poetry at the University of Georgia.
Barri was at a workshop by Professor Corey at the University of South Carolina the night she learned her 22-year-old daughter, Nancy, was killed by a drunk driver. Nancy was a vibrant young lady – an accomplished singer, pianist and guitarist – who had written many songs, had her own poems published, and was working toward a masters in computer science at North Carolina State University.
Barri turned to her poetry as a way to pour out her grief for the loss of her daughter as well as to share a deepening love for her husband, Dave.
Upon learning of her tragedy, Stephen Corey became a mentor to Barri, showing her how to improve the expression of her poetry and feelings by painting pictures with words and analogies to capture and convey her emotions and thoughts. Barri's poems began to be accepted by national journals and anthologies.
In 1992, her book of poetry, Double Helix, won first place in a contest sponsored by the Washington Writers' Publishing House based in Washington, DC. It was published the following year. “The title is an analogy of love and sorrow, the stuff of life, as is DNA, with its twisted strands a part of all our lives,” Barri explained.
Barri says, “I am grateful to God for giving me the joy of setting His precious Scriptures to timeless melodies. Looking back I can see how He has led me along the way, training me, even through sorrows, as He proves His promise found in I Corinthians 10:13 to never give us more than we can bear.”