Danny Barnes (from the album Stove Up)
Often described as a ‘banjo virtuoso’, Danny Barnes’ chief asset is his ability to mentally erase the established lines that divide musical genres. Danny translates styles, utilizing banjo strings as his primary language on his latest release, Stove Up. The album rapidly heads down the hills on mountain music to keep pace with the flash fire playing on banjo, fiddle, and guitar in “Eight Mile to Louisville”, rolls along on top of a upright bass thump in “Farewell Blues”, huffs and puffs Celtic air for “Paddy on the Turnpike”, and breezes through “Flint Hill Special” on a fast track. Danny Branes sums up his playing with his history, stating that ‘a lot of what I do was informed by punk rock and dub music from the 1970’s. I bought those records when they were new, thus starting a lifelong obsession of buying records. I received a degree from the University of Texas (Austin, Texas) in audio production, and loved the classes there about the history of audio and recorded music. That’s where I first started hearing experimental music, that’s also where I learned to be very comfortable in a recording studio. Later I became the principle songwriter/producer/singer for Bad Livers, and eventually launched my own private record label (Minner Bucket Records), publishing company, and solo career in about 1998’.
Working on his banjo playing for forty-five years, Danny Barnes dedicates Stove Up as an homage to his favorite banjo player, Don Stover. Stove Up moves at an accelerated pace as “Blue Ridge Express” flies by while “Fireball” scorches the earth with its speed as the stories of “Bill Cheatum”, “Ol’ Liza Jane”, and “John Hardy” are told with agile picking from nimble fingers. Danny Barnes and the banjo are made for each other, much like the couple that he covers in Ralph McTell’s “Factory Girl”, the slow strums that warm the insides of “Steel Guitar Rag”, and the fleet feet that keep pace with the fast footwork in “Rockwood Deer Chase”.