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The banjo has country-music and bluegrass associations, but Danny Barnes is taking the instrument further: to jazz, punk and pop. His latest release is titled Pizza Box, and it features the banjo as it's rarely been heard before.
Barnes recorded the album at Haunted Hollows Studio in Virginia. The facility is owned by none other than Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band, who took notice of Barnes several years ago. Barnes played banjo with the group in the past, and now Matthews is returning the favor. He contributes backing vocals on several tracks from Pizza Box.
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Before this solo release, Barnes worked with musicians such as Robert Earl Keen, Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz. He also played in his own acoustic punk-rock band, Bad Livers. Pizza Box may be his most pop-focused work to date, but he says he's just playing the music he enjoys.
"I look at what I do as fractured pop music, and I love the way [it] delivers really profound music in a really simple way," he says. "It's a direct path to a lot of people's attention."
Barnes is known to scat while playing the banjo. He says he started doing it when one of his arrangement teachers told him that he should only play what he could sing.
"I practiced for 10 years, where I would try to sing everything that I was playing so that it wasn't just gratuitous scales," he says.
After almost four decades of playing music, Barnes still says he has a lot to learn.
"I've been at it 38 years," he says, "and I still take lessons and work on it."
We are thrilled to announce that Danny will be appearing this Sunday on NPR's Weekend Edition with Liane Hansen! Tune in to hear Ms. Hansen's musically enlightening conversation with Danny and be sure to visit www.npr.org for an online extra including video footage of Barnes' live performance. Check local listings for details.
Danny will be a special guest performer at the 10th Annual Summer Camp Festival in Chicilothe, IL over Memorial Day weekend (May 28 - 30) with moe., Umphrey's McGee, STS9, Gov't Mule, The Avett Brothers, Yonder Mounain String Band, Keller Williams, and more. Tickets on sale now at summercampfestival.com
Danny will also be appearing at Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival August 9 - 14th as both a performer and instructor at the camp. Other artists include Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, and Keller Williams. Tickets on sale now here
Danny will return to the stage with good friend Robert Earl Keen to support Dave Matthews Band this summer in the following markets:
6/15 Cincinatti, OH- Riverbend Music Center
6/16 Maryland Heights, MO- Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
6/18 Noblesville, IN- Verizon Wireless Music Center
6/19 Noblesville, IN- Verizon Wireless Music Center
6/22 Columbus, OH- Huntington Park
Tickets on sale now at www.davematthewsband.com
Be sure to check out an extensive feature on the album and in-depth interview with Danny by Sarah Hagerman on Jambase.com
Danny has been added to the official lineup of the 9th Annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN. Bonnaroo is the largest North American festival and also widely hailed as the most eclectic. The festival takes place over a four day period from June 10-13 with a lineup that includes Dave Matthews Band, Stevie Wonder, Kings of Leon, Jay Z, and Conan O'Brien among others. Tickets on sale now at www.bonnaroo.com
We are thrilled to announce that Danny will be appearing this Sunday on NPR's Weekend Edition with Liane Hansen! Tune in to hear Ms. Hansen's musically enlightening conversation with Danny and be sure to visit www.npr.org
The rapid changes that have occurred in the music industry in the last decade have left a lot of folks sour as they wistfully long for the good old days. But not Danny Barnes... (2 page interview)
Listen to Danny Barnes in concert at NPR, including the tracks:
- Misty Swan