Composer, singer/songwriter, and banjoist extraordinaire Danny Barnes is contemplating his instrument’s bad rap.
“Folks are overwhelmed with images and sounds in contemporary life,” Barnes says. “And they deal with this overstimulation by grouping things in the easiest way. ‘Oh, that guy, well, he’s rich. That guy over there only has one leg. What’s the easiest way to group them so we can get on with it?’
“I look at a banjo like a pencil. You can draw whatever you want with a simple pencil. It’s a channel to get the idea out, it isn’t the idea. But that’s not really the way our world is ordered in a meta-narrative sense, I don’t suspect. I like the way the bible talks about seeing things the way a child sees things; that’s perhaps a more creative way to see things. I like the way the philosopher George Berkeley talked about how things only exist in their particulars.”