Local Wire

Danny Barnes

You could file Danny Barnes' new album under folk, blues, old time, alt-country or gospel, but there isn't a single category that defines his free-flowing acoustic alchemy. Barnes' sparse banjo picking, and the high lonesome fiddling of Brittany Haas, makes the Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" sound like an ancient Appalachian ballad, something Doc Boggs might have sung 50 years ago. It's followed by "Cumberland Gap," one of the oldest frontier songs in America, written when Kentucky was the edge of the wilderness. The tunes fit together seamlessly, despite their disparate origins, demonstrating the timelessness of a good tune. Barnes' originals display his familiar blend of dark humor and understated instrumental virtuosity. "Get Me Out of Jail" is the lament of an OxyContin addict; "Wasted Mind" casually lists the misfortunes that befall a self-destructive ne'er-do-well; and the title track is a snappy bit of tuba-driven ragtime that brings to mind the early country jazz experiments of Jimmie Rodgers.
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J. Poet