Banjo virtuoso Danny Barnes' album Man On Fire finds Barnes collaborating with musical legends including Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones on bass & mandolin, Bill Frisell on guitar & Matt Chamberlain on percussion.
Originally from Texas, Barnes was a founding member of the influential roots-punk band the Bad Livers before relocating to the Pacific Northwest. In 2015, he was awarded the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, hailed as "one of bluegrass music's most distinctive and innovative performers."
"Normally I work by myself," says Danny Barnes. "I've learned to make records pretty quickly on my own over the years, but this time around I wanted to slow things down and open up the process to a circle of friends whose musical input I really value, to collaborate with a small handful of artists I consider to be true masters."
Take a glance through the liner notes of Man On Fire, Barnes' remarkable album, and you'll be sure to recognize quite a few of those masterful friends. As star-studded as the album may be, it's Barnes who shines brightest throughout, his virtuosic banjo and unassuming vocals front and center as he delivers poignant portraits of everyday folks struggling to get by in a world that's been rigged against them. The songs here walk the line between past and present, fusing old-time tradition with modern experimentalism as they draw on a wide swath of American musical history, from Appalachian folk and Memphis rockabilly to Kentucky bluegrass and Bakersfield country. Ably guided by the subtle touch of producer Geoff Stanfield (Sun Kill Moon, Firehorse), the resulting collection manages at times to be both hilarious and heartbreaking, reaching out for hope wherever it appears but forging ahead with dignity and self-respect even when it's nowhere to be found.
"To me, the fundamental question of life is, 'How do you lay your burdens down?'" says Barnes. "There are so many powerful entities stacked against a person, especially a regular, unmoneyed person, but I think that just by realizing what's happening to you, by recognizing the forces at play, you can start to regain some of your power."
"A clever lyricist with a punk-rock past who understands the raw simplicity of a good country tune." - Rolling Stone
"While many players use the banjo to show what they can do, Danny Barnes uses it to show who he is--something so rare that we have to look back decades for comparisons."- Bluegrass Today
Down-home magical realism.
- Vinyl LP
- Limited time digital download
|John Paul Jones||bass, mandolin|
- Awful Strange
- Coal Mine
- Hey Man
- Enemy Factory
- The Less That I Know
- Hambone Slide
- It's Over
- Ballad of Nope