Texas Platters by Raoul Hernandez

"I don't do dope; I don't drink wine. I likes to play ... It's cheaper that way," croons Bad Livers banjo master Danny Barnes on the title track of his solo debut for Dave Matthews' label, ATO. "Basically it's all elemental: Us Southern boys are sentimental." So much so that Pizza Box dishes "TSA" even more romantic ("my baby's she's working for the TSA"), the now-Pacific Northwester's tart vocals almost as pointillistic as his picking, percussion big and roomy beneath him ("with her hair in a bun, her hand on her gun, we made love with the radio on"). Completing the tender triptych is "Overdue," while "Charlie" evokes the Peanuts gallery of "You're a good man, Charlie Brown" with an equally funny, homespun tale of a part-time speed freak. Pizza Box flies the freak flag all right, adapting truisms into musical stakes à la "Broken Clock," which leans to classic country ("even a broken clock gets right twice a day"). Paddleboat twang in Barnes' hands ("Caveman") makes bluegrass a plantation ramble of trailer-park proportions.

Tune in tomorrow evening (Tuesday, Feb 2) at 9:00 PM to hear an intimate 4 song performance and interview with Meredith Ochs! An encore broadcast can be heard on Thursday, February 4th at 11:00 PM EST.

Review of 'Pizza Box' from Bentley's Bandstand.

Barnes joined Jeff Austin, Butch Trucks, David Sandborn, and moe. for a benefit show at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC.

Opening the show was Danny Barnes, formerly of Austin's bluegrass-punk band the Bad Livers and currently a Washington state resident who frequently collaborates with jazz guitarist Bill Frisell. With his brown hair sticking out every which way above his thick-frame glasses and jutting chin, Barnes stood alone on the Ramshead stage, a banjo hanging from his neck and a laptop and mixer on the table beside him. Fingering a mouse and punching buttons, he called up a hip-hop beat from the computer, added his twangy banjo to the loop, and promptly sang the old-time country song "Misty Swan."

It worked marvelously. Barnes is a banjo virtuoso, capable of blinding 16th-note runs and percussive riffs, and the microchip groove never got in the way of that. Nor did the programmed beats ever sound like a gimmick; they sounded as if they were merely articulating the implied syncopation that had been in those Appalachian laments all along. Barnes introduced the songs from his brand new album, Pizza Box, demolishing the wall between ancient and modern as surely as the Carolina Chocolate Drops did in the second set.

Danny Barnes will join Robert Randolph and the Family Band at the Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY to support the American Red Cross and their efforts in Haiti.

Danny will be embarking on a mini-tour to the East coast to support the release of ‘Pizza Box’. The show at Joe’s Pub in New York will feature special surprise guests! Tickets on sale now! See below for dates:

1/19 Tues Annapolis, MD, Ram’s Head Onstage
1/20 Wed New York, NY, Joe’s Pub
1/21 Thur Philadelphia, PA, World Café Live
1/22 Fri New York, NY Roseland Ballroom (with moe., Butch Trucks, Jeff Austin, and more)

For those of you in Philadelphia, Danny will be performing as part of WXPN’s ‘Free at Noon’ concert series this Friday, January 1/22. The ‘Free At Noon’ concert series is a co-production of WXPN and NPR. For those of you outside of Philadelphia, you can stream the six-song performance in its entirety live at