I've been running Danny Barnes' website for at least 15 years now. We did a major redesign in 2009 for the Pizza Box record... building the site in Drupal 6 and working with some bigshots at ATO Records (owned by Dave Matthews, who brought Barnes onto the label and performs on his records.) The earthy tones of that design theme were replaced by "purple space" for the Rocket / Angel / Poison release in 2011.
Here it is folks.... the all-new Danny Barnes site just in time for next week's major label release of "Pizza Box."
Not only have I had the distinct pleasure of working with my favorite musician for several years now... I've had the opportunity to work with his new management at RedLight, who also manage Phish, Dave Matthews Band, and Ben Harper among others. Truly an adventure. Check out the site because we have his new songs (and some old ones) streaming right there on the page and you can also download a high-res MP3 of "Caveman" for free.
Other features of the site include: live twitter feed on front page, integration w/ Facebook so you can use your FB i.d. to comment on the site, cool mapping features in the gigs section, and much more. Also trying to retain some old features such as "Ask Danny Barnes" and pulling in the blog from the Folktronics site. So if you are looking for Folktronics, it's here on DannyBarnes.com
The new record is phenom. My new favorite song is "Road" but ask me tomorrow and I will tell you it's "Bone." The closer "Sparta, TN" should be all over the freakin' radio. Another favorite is "Lifeline" that appears on the pre-order package and I think the digital download package but not sure. Anyway... please enjoy!
News just slipped out that Josh Homme (front man for Boeger favorite Queens of the Stone Age), John Paul Jones (yes, THAT John Paul Jones), and Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) are recording in Los Angeles. IS THIS GOING TO ROCK OR WHAT? I couldn't dream this stuff up better if I tried.
2. New Danny Barnes Record (it's been under my hat for a while).
I'm not the biggest Dave Matthews fan but he and I share something in common: we both KNOW that Danny Barnes is the real thing (along with the above-mentioned John Paul Jones, Bill Frisell, Charlie Louvin, and many others.) So Dave booked him into his studio and got some other heavies involved, including drummer extraordinaire Matt Chamberlain (Pearl Jam, David Bowie, everybody else) on drums and Rashawn Ross from Dave Matthews Band arranging the horns.
Don't mean to rub it in but I've had the distinct pleasure of listening to these tracks for several weeks... and it is REALLY, REALLY good. Incredible batch of songs. I think this is the most accessible work Barnes has ever done, and if there's any justice in the world it will be all over the radio this fall.
3. The House That Dirt Built
One of our favorite bands in this house is a new band out of Noid, England called The Heavy. Their first album is a MUST-HAVE. New tracks from their upcoming album "The House That Dirt Built" have been trickling out at the Ninjatune store. Sounds kind of like Al Green backed by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. You can get a good feel for them at their official site --- they feature a new video on the front page.
This year's lineup is stellar as usual. Saturday is a barnburner and Sunday is ALSO a barnburner. Or should I say Barnes Burner because Mr. Danny Barnes has the potential to play w/ 5 or 6 acts.
FRIDAY NIGHT FRUMP
T Bone Burnett again brings a band, but this time w/ unknowns such as Robert Plant and a fiddler named Alison Krauss. Nothing to see here!
SPECIAL SATURDAY RECIPE
I'm just skipping the banjo stage altogether. I can hear Steve Earle rant some other time.
We kick off in high gear at noon w/ Santiago Jimenez (Mexicali music) followed by the Bad Livers reunion show at 1:05 (Star Stage). The Bad Livers show is THE must-see of the weekend, in my biased opinion.
After Bad Livers, 20 minutes to get comfy at Star Stage for The Desert Rose Band, another must-not-miss reunion. Del McCoury Band -- best "conventional" bluegrass band on the planet -- follows, so if you find comfort please stay!! Mickey Hart's latest drum project comes after and I know Simon will want to see this.
BUT... the Saturday Rooster tradition continues w/ Dave Alvin & the Guilty WOMEN and then Robert Earl Keen (w/ Barnes on banjo?). I plan to be as nimble and greedy as possible on Saturday afternoon and bounce between Rooster and Star.
SUNDAY - HARDLY OR STRICTLY?
The Strictly lineup at the main Banjo Stage on Sunday sets the bar. You can see Ralph Stanley, Earl Skruggs, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, and Emmylou Harris all in a row. Kari adds that Hazel Dickens' stories are always highlights for her. You could find find worse ways to spend an afternoon.
If you are seeking the Hardly action, the Rooster is a fascinating place on Sunday w/ Bonnie "Prince" Billie, Greg Brown, and Iron & Wine playing all in a row from 1 till 4:30.
Elvis Costello's Hardly one-off is titled "High Whines & Spirits." Who will be in this band?? T-bone still hangin' around? I love a good mystery.
The Arrow Stage has some cool shows too in the afternoon too. The Infamous Stringdusters and The Waybacks play back-to-back beginning at 2:10, and these sets are suspect to Danny Barnes appearances.
To close it out, Heavy Trash assaults the Star Stage at 5:45 featuring Jon Spencer of the Blues Explosion. Hardly the gentle caress of Emmylou.
[SPECIAL NOTE TO MY PALS WHO MIGHT ATTEND: I will not attempt to answer/talk on my cell phone at the festival, because it's futile and it runs counter to enjoying music. But if you TEXT me... no problemo!! Please TXT me!! ]
We didn't catch a whole lot of shows this summer, and only one on this list, but thanks to some generous artists and savvy tapers you can enjoy these from the comfort of your MP3 player. I recommend downloading the variable bit rate MP3's as a zip file, unzipping, and then importing into iTunes.
The phrase "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass" must have been inspired by the 90's Austin, Texas band Bad Livers. They broke up in 2000 just before Warren Hellman launched his awesome free festival in 2001.
Bad Livers' music always seemed to show up at HSBF in one way or another. The sound man for Emmylou Harris played their records just before her set the first 3 years (and for all I know, he plays them at all of her gigs.) Then Danny Barnes began showing up in person, playing w/ Tim O'Brien on the main stage and Robert Earl Keen's now-traditional slot at the Rooster Stage. His electric band (The Collective) played the Porch Stage in 2006.
Now... somehow... the Bad Livers are getting together for a special reunion show (shows?) at Hardly Strictly VIII. Like I was saying, these guys were the definitive "hardly, strictly bluegrass" band that was as influenced by Motorhead and the Bad Brains as they were by Earl Skruggs and Bill Monroe.
Bad Livers had a way of making a banjo, fiddle, and bass sound as HEAVY as Metallica or Cream. It's really a treat to see Barnes and Mark Rubin get together again. They ranked at the very top of the banter scale with their discussions about fishing and food. We don't know yet if Ralph White will round out the trio, or if it will be Bob Grant, or somebody else. You just might find out here first.
I'm not trying to be a hep music journalist here but since I do have friends that like to keep up vicariously with my music adventures, here are some the things I listened to this year... in no particular order:
Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris
Era Vulgaris is far and away my favorite record this year and I consider it to be at a level of genius on par with the Flaming Lips' Pink Robots album. Some might snark, especially old school Queens fans. My old friends who have gone a little soft are horrified. And even Joshe Homme, the Queens mastermind, would squirm at any hint of pretention.