A celebrated figure in American acoustic music from the early '90s onward, Danny Barnes is an artist who fuses a deep respect for musical tradition with a forward-looking desire to explore new sounds and blaze fresh trails. As a member of the group the Bad Livers, Barnes and his bandmates played…
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Danny Barnes returns to Country Fried Rock to discuss his recent accolade, the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Barnes has two distinct audiences: those who know him for playing with bands ranging from Dave Matthews Band to the Butthole Surfers, and those who know him for his songwriting and wide-ranging banjo styles. The term “electronic folk” may have been coined just for him.
Barnes is fascinated by sound, and how incongruous sounds mesh or conflict. From the computer programs he designed to interpret his banjo or bazouki playing to his obsession with noise music and cassettes, Barnes is engrossed by the process as much as the product. This year, he released a special recording for Cassette Store Day on his cassette-label, Minner Bucket Records, and will release a more traditional bluegrass album later. Barnes’ take on “tradition” is anything but traditional, though, so it is guaranteed to be another fascinating investigation of technology and instrumentation.
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