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Archive for the ‘Danny Barnes’ Category

DannyBarnes_StoveUp_frontcover.pngDanny Barnes Releases All Acoustic Homage to Don Stover, Stove Up, on March 3, 2017
Featuring Danny Barnes along with Jason Carter, Chris Henry, Mike Bub, and Nick Forster

Danny Barnes is already known as an iconic American musician, a banjo playing innovator who’s earned high praise from everybody from Bill Frisell and Dave Matthews to Steve Martin, who presented Danny with the Prize for Excellence in Banjo in 2015. From the days with his groundbreaking Austin band, the Bad Livers, to his two decade solo career experimenting with electronic music, jazz, old time string band music and more, he’s a genre bending, rule breaking original who prefers to color outside the lines.

Now, with Stove Up, out March 3, 2017, he’s showing us that it was always a choice, that he’s always had the chops to play straight ahead bluegrass banjo with the best of them. With a top-flight band backing him up, Danny turns in an amazing set of tunes that demonstrate his respect for tradition and his commitment to his own musical voice.

“Happily, with Stove Up, our five-string hero steps out of the lab and into the sunlight where his pre-war Gibson can really shine,” says Tim O’Brien. “Producer and guitarist Nick Forster wisely loosens the reins and lets his pack of thoroughbreds set a fast pace around the bluegrass track. Mandolinist Chris Henry, with his bone-dry tone and expanded traditional approach, is a particularly inspired foil to Barnes. Along with Forster, much decorated fiddler Jason Carter, and everyone’s favorite bassist, Mike Bub, they cut through some beautiful territory, including two Don Stover’s compositions—”Black Diamond” and “Rockwood Deer Chase.” Three vocal tracks peek through the instrumentals and give new listeners a look into the quirky mind of Barnes… These are live and lively performances where you can almost hear the musicians smile.”

Recorded in eTown Studios in Colorado, Stove Up was produced by Nick Forster and engineered by James Tuttle. The mixing and editing were done by the great banjo player Scott Vestal and it was mastered by David Glasser at Airshow.

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Danny Barnes. Photo by Monica Frisell

Danny says, “After 45 years of practicing, this is the first acoustic bluegrass record I’ve ever made. Nick, Mike, Jason, and Chris are bluegrass royalty! It was a sure enough honor to be able to make Stove Up, a loving homage to the great Don Stover.”

One of his banjo heroes, Don Stover, was the inspiration for this project simply because Don knew how to play bluegrass banjo in a way that fit the style, showed respect for Earl Scruggs and others, but it still sounded like him, had his own voice. Danny delivers on all fronts here, from scorching banjo fiddle duets with Jason Carter (“Paddy on the Turnpike,” “John Hardy,” and “Bill Cheatum”) to faithful versions of Scruggs (“Flint Hill Special” and “Fireball”), or a Grandpa Jones tune (“Eight More Miles To Louisville”) to a reinterpreted Rolling Stones song (“Factory Girl”) or his own originals (“Isotope 709,” “Charlie,” and “Get It While You Can”). This generous set of music sounds like what it is – great musicians having fun playing music in real time.

Danny says, “All these tunes on here (except the ones I made up), I’ve been playing and working on since I was a young boy. I’m STILL working on this stuff. My plan = never give up.”

If you’re looking for an antidote to the world’s problems, go find Stove Up, this new Danny Barnes record, and turn it up loud. It’s a thing of joy and beauty!

Kind words about Danny and Stove Up

“My friend Danny. The truth. This is the thing that struck me most strongly when I first heard Danny Barnes and is something that continues to grow stronger and clearer. What we hear from Danny is true. It can be coming from no one else. His story. Whether it’s the songs he writes himself or those he chooses to play. He has lived it. He’s not playing ‘at’ it. He ‘is’ it… Danny’s love of, connection to, and history with this music is long and deep. What a joy now to listen to these songs transformed through his lifetime of experience. It is a wonderful thing… Thank you Danny. Sincerely.” —Bill Frisell

“Danny Barnes represents all that is good about heartfelt music. He has deep passion, exemplary technique, great abilities as a songwriter, richly burnished vocals, and the fearsome desire to break through boundaries while still staying solidly rooted in tradition. He’s as fine as they come.”  —Tony Trischka

“For years I’ve said Danny Barnes is the world’s greatest banjo player. It’s the truth, but now with fake news and all the puffery, words have lost their meaning. But that’s okay because the truth is in the music. Listen to DB’s banjo if you wanna hear the truth.” —Robert Earl Keen

“Like Superman squeezing a lump of coal, Danny Barnes can transform crumbling musical remnants into cutting edge innovations, but avid fans have long known that Barnyard Electronics’ chief engineer has some serious traditional banjo chops.” —Tim O’Brien

Danny Barnes on Tour 2017*
2/16 Thu – The Big Easy – Petaluma, CA
2/17 Fri – The Crepe Place – Santa Cruz, CA
2/18 Sat – The Back Room – Berkeley, CA
2/19 Sun – Moe’s Original BBQ – Tahoe City, CA
2/22 Wed – Applegate Lodge – Applegate, OR
2/23 Thu – HiFi Lounge – Eugene, OR
3/9 Thu – Cervante’s Other Side – Denver, CO %
3/10 Fri – Barkley Ballroom – Frisco, CO %
3/12 Sun – The Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, CO %
3/16 Thu – White Eagle Saloon – Portland, OR
3/17 Fri – Rock Creek Tavern – Hillsboro, OR
3/18 Sat – McMennamins Grand Lodge – Forest Grove, OR
4/19 Thu – Club Passim – Cambridge, MA ^
4/20 Thu – Caffe Lena – Saratoga Springs, NY ^
4/21-22 Fri-Sat – Durango Bluegrass Meltdown – Durango, CO ^
4/25 Tue – Cabaret at Germano’s – Baltimore, MD ^
4/26 Wed – C-ville Coffee – Charlottesville, VA ^
4/27 Thu – Hill Country Live – Washington, DC ^
4/28 Fri – Milkboy – Philadelphia, PA ^
4/29 Sat – Hill Country Live – New York, NY ^
4/30  Sun – Elk Creek Cafe – Millheim, PA ^
5/4-6 Thu-Sat – Adrift Hotel – Long Beach, WA
5/7-13 Sun-Sat – Al’s Den at Crystal Hotel – Portland, OR
7/13-16 Thu-Sun – Northwest String Summit – North Plains, OR

* All Dates are Danny Barnes solo unless otherwise noted
% Danny with Jeremy Garrett and Andy Falco
^ Danny with Grant Gordy and Joe K Walsh
More dates TBA!

Stay up-to-date with news from Danny Barnes at www.dannybarnes.com, twitter.com/Wildknees, and Facebook.com/DannyBarnesBanjo.  

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Danny Barnes. Photo by Jame Curtis.

Danny Barnes. Photo by Jame Curtis.

Danny Barnes Wins Sixth Annual Steve Martin Prize For Excellence In Banjo And Bluegrass,
Set to Release Got Myself Together November 2015 Through Eight 30 Records

“As if dedicating your life to an instrument like the banjo wasn’t sufficiently avant-garde, the winner of this year’s Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass is a musician recognized for his experimental approach to that seemingly quaint stringed instrument.”
The New York Times, Dave Itzkoff

“Saying that Danny Barnes plays the banjo is like saying Lionel Messi kicks a soccer ball. Barnes doesn’t just play the banjo—he plucks it, thrums it, claws it, bashes it, runs it through processors, plays it backward, drenches it in reverb, and layers it over computerized drums, distorted guitars, and weird chicken sounds. His prowess with the instrument makes him a deserving winner…”
Texas Monthly, Michael Hall

Banjo player extraordinaire Danny Barnes is the 2015 recipient of the 6th annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Described as “one of a kind” and widely acknowledged as “one of the best banjo players in America,” Barnes is recognized for his experimental sound. The raw and unpolished musical breadth of his compositions has propelled him across the industry today. Barnes will be releasing a new solo record, a ten year anniversary re-recording of an earlier album called Get Myself Together [2005]. The new release, Got Myself Together, comes out in November on Eight 30 Records. He will be on the road solo this fall and winter; stay tuned for dates to be announced.

A Texas native now living northwest of Seattle, Barnes is one of bluegrass music’s most distinctive and innovative performers. He is known for blending together different sounds which defy labeling while redefining the banjo’s perceived image in a wide-ranging and four-decade long career. From his early days as the driving force behind the impressive Austin-based Bad Livers, a band of pioneering Americana missionaries, through a prolific solo career and the development of his trademark approach he calls “Barnyard Electronics” (which is also the name of his 2007 album) that incorporates digital technology and various effect pedals to stretch the tonal range of the instrument, Barnes has always listened to his proudly offbeat inner voice. His live shows involve a computer program he built in max/msp and a banjo.

Recently, he was recording in his home lab when a package arrived from Steve Martin with a letter notifying him that he was the recipient of 2015 recipient of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.

IMG_5787“The day that package came from Steve, I had gotten up at like 4am when it’s real quiet and I can get recording done. When FedEx came, I was kind of preoccupied. I saw that it was from Steve and thought, ‘Oh cool… he’s sent me one of his records.’” says Barnes in an interview with John Lawless in Bluegrass Today. “But then I thought… ‘Hey, I never gave him my address.’ I had met Steve earlier this year at a show with the Steep Canyon Rangers, and we got to talk a little bit, but I didn’t remember giving him my address. When I opened it up and saw what it was, I was completely stunned. I was speechless. I’ve never won anything, and it amazes me that anyone knows what I am doing.”

The Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass provides the winner with an unrestricted cash prize of fifty-thousand dollars, as well as a bronze sculpture created specifically for the prize by noted artist Eric Fischl. Created to bring recognition to an individual or group for outstanding accomplishment in the field of five-string banjo or bluegrass music, the prize highlights the extraordinary musicianship of these artists and bluegrass music worldwide. The winner is determined by a board consisting of J.D Crowe, Pete Wernick, Tony Trischka, Anne Stringfield, Alison Brown, Neil V. Rosenberg, Béla Fleck, and Steve Martin. Previous winners have included Noam Pikelny (2010), Sammy Shelor (2011), Mark Johnson (2012), Jens Kruger (2013), and Eddie Adcock (2014).

When asked by Bluegrass Today what he would be doing with the honorarium from his Steve Martin Prize, Danny says, “I’m going to invest it back into the art, back into the banjo community. I have a new record coming out in November, and then I’m thinking of doing a straight up banjo record. I’ve never done that, and I’ve started talking to some of the guys I’d like to have play on there with me. I also have an idea for a contemporary piece for banjo, and I hope to finally get to work on that.”

Got Myself Together hits the streets this fall with another in the works this winter for a straight up banjo record, and he’s also working on a suite of contemporary music for banjo and tuba. Barnes has released over ten albums and has been featured on over 50 others. His most recent album, Junior Sampled [June 2014], is available to stream at http://dannybarnes.bandcamp.com/album/junior-sampled.

In addition to the above, Barnes will be releasing an avant garde “kinda” noise cassette coming out on his own label, Minner Bucket Records which specializes in limited run cassettes, for Cassette Store Day (10/17/15). Only 50 will be made.

Barnes says, “I’ve been at this a pretty long time. The main thing I use to get my ideas across has been the banjo. It has an unusual sound and is capable of a wide range of expression, however it isn’t very developed yet, in terms of what is being done with it in a current macro sense. It’s untapped.”

His skills as an instrumentalist and his open embrace and infectious love of music for music’s sake, have brought him to share the stage and record with a wide array of marquee artists that reads like a who’s who among broad musical landscapes, ranging from bluegrass greats Bela Fleck, Del McCoury, and Sam Bush, newgrass stars Yonder Mountain String band, to Americana artists Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, and Nickel Creek, to Jam friendly Gov’t Mule, Leftover Salmon, and Keller Williams, to jazz and blues instrumentalists Bill Frisell, Chuck Leavell, and John Popper, to members of the punk and metal Butthole Surfers, Dead Kennedys, and Ministry. He’s collaborated and shared stages with the likes of Bill Frisell, Yonder Mountain String Band, Robert Earl Keen and Dave Matthews, as well as wailed on a flying V guitar with members of the Butthole Surfers.

Stay up-to-date with news from Danny Barnes at www.dannybarnes.com, twitter.com/Wildknees, and Facebook.com/DannyBarnesBanjo.  Also feel free to ask him a question at http://dannybarnes.com/ask-barnes.

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Jeff Austin & The Here and Now (featuring Danny Barnes & The Keels)
On Tour

JeffAustin_bySeñorMcGuire_1Mandolinist, vocalist and songwriter Jeff Austin is unstoppable. He is celebrated for his fleet fingers and penchant for improvisation on stage, but those qualities also speak volumes about how he chooses to live. Austin has cultivated his natural musical abilities and allowed himself to be driven by his boldest instincts. In this way, he has been able to build positive, exciting momentum around his life’s greatest passion.

While not on the road with Yonder Mountain String Band, Austin is joining forces with The Here and Now, featuring banjoist Danny Barnes and Larry & Jenny Keel on guitar and bass. They will be embarking on special late summer tour starting in the midwest near Chicago and looping through Bloomington, IN; Troy, OH; and Louisville and then heading south into Birmingham and St Louis before heading over to Tulsa. The tour lands for their final show of the run in Guthrie, Oklahoma with their second appearance as part of a Mumford and Sons Gentlemen of the Road Stopover.

Take a look at Jeff’s new website JeffAustin.com and download a free EP of Jeff Austin & The Here and Now.

Jeff Austin & The Here and Now on Tour:
8/28 Wed – Durty Nellie’s – Palatine, IL
8/29 Thu – The Bluebird – Bloomington, IN
8/30 Fri – Troy Memorial Stadium – Mumford and Sons Gentlemen of the Road – Troy, OH
8/31 Sat – Troy Memorial Stadium – Mumford and Sons Gentlemen of the Road – Troy, OH
9/1 Sun – Diamonds in Upper Highlands- Louisville, KY
9/2 Mon – Avondale Brewing Co. – Birmingham, AL
9/4 Wed – Old Rock House – St. Louis, MO
9/5 Thu – The Shrine – Tulsa, OK *Austin & Barnes duo show
9/6-7 Fri – Cottonwood Flats – Mumford and Sons Gentlemen of the Road – Guthrie, OK
9/7 Sat – Cottonwood Flats – Mumford and Sons Gentlemen of the Road – Guthrie, OK

More about Jeff Austin
Jeff Austin’s enthusiasm for the vast, vibrant world of music was rooted in him as early as he can remember: “I was always raised very musically. My mom always had music playing; she always sang.” It’s no surprise then that Austin himself grew up singing too. From beginning to end of his years in grade school just outside of Chicago, he sang in classes, choirs, and musicals, allowing his musical influences to lead him where they may. “I started listening to Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings,” Austin says. “And then the Beatles, that turned into Bob Dylan, and then the Grateful Dead and Phish.”

Austin continued this fearless course of action, attending University of Cincinnati and majoring in Musical Theatre, until he stumbled upon a crossroads that threatened to derail all of his plans. “I remember standing in front of the Grateful Dead three weeks before I dropped out of college and thinking, ‘there’s so much more to this music thing than being educated and being told what you are,’” Austin explains. “You can take what you think is your value and throw it at a crowd of people, and they will throw it back to you. The beauty is that nothing is black and white. It’s all grey; it’s interpreted at the moment.” Austin goes on to illustrate what this meant for his future: “At the time, I was auditioning for Broadway and off-Broadway shows. I walked away from everything I was set up to do because I realized that I just wanted to be in a band.”

Serendipitously, he met banjoist Dave Johnston around the same time. He encouraged Austin to try the mandolin so as to join his band The Bluegrassholes, so Jeff learned how to play the only way he knew how – with music: “I would listen to Not for Kids Only, which is a record of kids’ songs that Garcia/Grisman put out, nothing too fast. I would listen over and over and over and find the notes on my mandolin.” Picking up an instrument for the first time was exhilarating for Austin. “I never took lessons,” he admits. “I just threw myself in that world. I’ve always kind of learned in the line of fire.” The line of fire inspired Austin to be better, so he kept coming back. “For the better part of 3 years, I jammed night after night with these guys. There’s something about the pace, the speed, the aggressiveness, the chasing of the beat.” Austin was hooked.

In 1998, Austin and Johnston relocated to Nederland, Colorado. While working at a bar called the Verve, Austin met Adam Aijala and Ben Kaufmann, with whom he and Johnston would form the Yonder Mountain String Band. Together, the four musicians have created a wild, high-energy niche among the bluegrass legends of old and the up and coming jam band scene. Over fifteen years, Yonder Mountain String Band have built an intensely loyal fan base by playing festivals and venues across the nation, sharing the stage with legends like Jon Fishman, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzman, Earl Scruggs, Pete Thomas, and Jimmy Herring, and releasing five studio albums and five live recordings.

“My time with Yonder has taught me what is possible,” Austin says. “It has shown me that if you work hard at it and you believe in it and there’s a part of you that’s meant to do it, it will happen. It’s clichéd, but it’s true.”

It is with this rich personal history at his back that propels Austin into a new creative direction as he prepares to step into the spotlight as a solo artist. On his forthcoming debut project, Austin’s songwriting remains rooted in Americana inspiration and the frantic energy of the jam genre but also, reaches even further weaving in more mainstream themes, reminiscent of his co-write contribution “Fiddlin’ Around,” that was featured on the 2010 Grammy nominated Dierks Bentley album, Up on the Ridge. While the upcoming, untitled solo effort is still a work in progress, it can already be summed up succinctly as Austin’s love letter to storytelling. “I love writing a three-minute song with a hook that would grab a five-hundred-pound marlin as much as I like writing something that goes, ‘okay, after the bridge, it’s going to open up and just go wide.’”

Indeed, “wide” is what Jeff Austin is all about. He wants new and different, complex and interesting. He wants everything the music world has to offer, and he’s willing to work hard to get it.

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For more information, please visit JeffAustin.com or Facebook.com/JeffAustinOfficial.


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Dreamspider Erin interviews Danny Barnes at Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain, NC on October 6, 2011 for Lingua Musica. Danny talks about his new record, Rocket, his love of cassette tapes and vinyl albums. He also details his first project of 100 different CDs that were signed and numbered, how he met Larry and Jenny Keel and more. Tony Preston filmed and edited this video, which is copyright Luminescence, LLC 2011.

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