DANNY BARNES' GOT MYSELF TOGETHER (TEN YEARS LATER) RELEASES ON AUSTIN'S EIGHT 30 RECORDS
Recent Steve Martin Prize in Banjo and Bluegrass winner showcases his artistic evolution by rerecording his classic Get Myself Together in stripped-down form
SEATTLE – Danny Barnes' first collection in six years showcases a singular songwriter and player in peak form as Got Myself Together (Ten Years Later) reworks his classic album a decade on (“Big Girl Blues,” “Get Me Out of Jail”). The Seattle-area resident simply strips songs to their essence on the new recording. “I spend a lot of time developing new contexts like the barnyard electronics aesthetic,” Barnes says. “Get Myself Together was my last acoustic-type recording and I get quite a bit of fan mail about it, but the label that released it went out of business. I wanted to make something with this record that featured more of my raw acoustic sound, as though I was kind of playing in your living room.”
Folks notice Got Myself Together (Ten Years Later), releasing November 27 on Eight 30 Records, delivering Barnes trademark story songs and impeccable banjo picking over and again on the album (“Rat's Ass,” “Cut a Rug”). “Danny Barnes' musical horizon is vast and elegant,” says legendary Texas songsmith Robert Earl Keen, who frequently enlists Barnes as banjoist in his touring band. “I've said many times that he is the world's greatest banjo player. Danny's singing swoops and soars by still waters and down rocky paths.” “It is heaven and earth,” says superstar Dave Matthews, who also frequently calls Barnes to bat in his live show. “It is Americana from the back porch to the pulpit.”
Longtime fans immediately will recognize Barnes' quirky lyrics and unimpeachable banjo style jumping toward the fore with little distraction on the new record. “I had to come up with a different scene for each song,” Barnes says. “The original context for these songs was as though I had made a movie and everything was all committed to celluloid. However, with music you tend to shape things as you play them live. The routine: You write something, you record it, then you go play it for ten years on the road. So, in returning to the music, I had a different perspective. It's more like a dramatic work in that the company that performs it and the venue it's performed in necessarily changes the meaning.
Icing on the cake: The Temple, Texas native – and this year's Steve Martin Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo winner – offers a buoyant bonus track rerecording of his former band the Bad Livers' high watermark “I'm Convicted.” The song's equally rambunctious and robust. “Danny Barnes doesn't sound like anyone else,” says iconic instrumentalist Bill Frisell, whose “Big Shoe” closes out the album proper. “I was knocked out when I first heard him play and continue to be.” “I enjoy these songs and I think they are 'real songs,' if that makes any sense,” Barnes concludes. “They can be strummed on a one-string instrument and they still make sense and tell the story. They don't depend on effects or processing. I think they are worth a busy person taking time to jam on them.”
Eight 30 Records will release four digital-only bonus singles from the highly acclaimed Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll (oneeach month for the next four months!). Greg Trooper's “Cane River Blues” leads the way on May 1. “It's such an honor to be asked to be a part of this project,” said Trooper, who passed away not long after recording the track late last fall. “I'm a big fan!” Other artists contributing tracks include celebrated folk singers Steve Poltz (“Sno Cone Man”), Matt Harlan and Jamie Lin Wilson (“Rice Birds”) and longtime Carroll collaborator Owen Temple with Brennen Leigh (“Blondie and Dagwood”).
Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll, produced by Jenni Finlay and Brian T. Atkinson and released last fall on their Austin-based record label, celebrates a true songwriter’s songwriter, a Texas tunesmith who has inspired both younger and older artists for nearly two decades. Accolades poured in immediately. “It speaks volumes that James McMurtry and Hayes Carll and many more all contribute to a new homage to Adam Carroll,” raved Rolling Stone magazine. “It's a diverse group united by a shared appreciation of a writer who may be only 42 but is talented beyond his years.”
“Cane River Blues” • Greg Trooper (May 1)
“Rice Birds” • Matt Harlan and Jamie Lin Wilson (June 1)
“Sno Cone Man” • Steve Poltz (July 1)
“Blondie and Dagwood” • Owen Temple with Brennen Leigh (August 1)
Check out the buzz:
"It speaks volumes that James McMurtry and Hayes Carll and many more all contribute to a new homage to Adam Carroll. It's a diverse group united by a shared appreciation of a writer who may be only 42 but is talented beyond his years" - Rolling Stone
"With Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll, a host of Texas' finest come together to celebrate one of their own" - Lone Star Music
Jenni Finlay's poetry debut, Table For One (Mezcalita Press) is out now! CLICK HERE to purchase your autographed copy. Written during the months when Jenni was her father's caretaker during his cancer treatment and bone marrow transplant, the bittersweet vignettes are as humorous as they are heartwrenching. "Beyond good." - James McMurtry
Tribute album available now features James McMurtry, Kasey Chambers, Mary Gauthier, Tim Easton, Shinyribs and an unheard Hawkins original hidden track
AUSTIN, Texas — Cold and Bitter Tears: The Songs of Ted Hawkins, on Austin-based Eight 30 Records, marks the first tribute album to the soulful Venice Beach street performer, a legend overseas later in his lifetime but a songwriter largely overlooked in the States. Hawkins simply sang like songs were stamped on his heart at birth. Evidence: High watermarks on the new record such as “Big Things” (James McMurtry), “Cold and Bitter Tears” (Kasey Chambers), “Sorry You’re Sick” (Mary Gauthier), “Who Got My Natural Comb” (Shinyribs) and several other classics. Hawkins himself backs the point with the album’s hidden track, the moving unreleased demo “Great New Year.”
The Mississippi native, who died January 1, 1995 after a hardscrabble life and brief autumnal rise in popularity, might be gone but he’s clearly not forgotten. Americana power trio including singer-songwriter Kevin Russell(Shinyribs, The Gourds), artist manager Jenni Finlay (James McMurtry) and writer Brian T. Atkinson (author of I’ll Be Here in the Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt) have lovingly co-produced Cold and Bitter Tears over the past year with sessions mostly at Austin’s Wire Recording.
Russell has been particularly enthusiastic about the endeavor. “Ted Hawkins’ songs and his voice were infectiously uplifting to me upon first listen twenty years ago,” he says. “His unique style, both soulful and folkie, has haunted me and taught me — so much that I have been on a personal mission to tell the world about this national musical treasure. The opportunity to steward this tribute record is a ‘go tell it on the mountain’ moment for me that I hope can bring greater attention to the songs and recordings of Mr. Hawkins himself.”
Hawkins earned a following as a longtime busker on the Venice Beach boardwalk but his unpredictable lifestyle prevented widespread notice. He made minor critical waves with his debut Watch Your Step (1982), an album that failed commercially but earned a five-star review in Rolling Stone. Hawkins scarcely recorded between Watch Your Step and his major label debut The Next Hundred Years (1994).
Boardwalk passersby always noticed the singular singer belting his songs. They stopped cold. Listened. Amazed. “A lot of street musicians are really good, but there was something about him that was just pure presence,” saysJon Dee Graham, who witnessed Hawkins on the beachfront while recording in Los Angeles three decades ago. “Also, his songs aren’t like anybody else’s. He’s singing in this huge, soulful voice, ‘What do you want from the liquor store? Something sweet? Something sour?’ What? So wholly original.” Imagine blues and country and folk having no dividing lines.
He died at 58 years old the following New Year’s Day as his star finally threatened to rise. “At the time of his death, Hawkins remained the greatest singer you’ve never heard,” the Los Angeles Times obituary read. “Hawkins clearly was transported somewhere else as he sang, and when he became aware of the audience, he seemed dazed: [Everyone] applauding wildly, some in tears from the sheer, sad beauty of his songs.” “When somebody plays in a way you’ve never heard anybody else play, that’s singularity,” echoes Dave Marsh, the iconic author and rock critic. “You might be able to imitate it, but you couldn’t copy it. It would be like trying to sing like Ray Charles. You can’t do that.”
CLICK HERE for digital liner notes
Kent Finlay’s skyrocketed aspiring artists for four decades now. You know the names: George Strait. Stevie Ray Vaughan. Todd Snider. James McMurtry. Eric Johnson. The list literally goes on forever. Each songwriter’s an unmatched talent with one common thread: Finlay launched their careers from the stage at his legendary Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, Texas. Finlay’s simply the most respected lyrical editor and talent scouter in Texas – not to mention a singular songwriter himself.
“Songwriter. Mentor. Curator. Teacher. Historian,” longtime acolyte Owen Temple says. “Kent Finlay has helped create the best of what Texas music has been and is.” “Kent Finlay’s a guru, a Yoda,” says legendary songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard. “He has an incredible sense of craft and the right inspiration for why he does it. For him, it’s not about what he can get. It’s about what he can give, what he can contribute to the music.”Kent Finlay: Dreamer tells his story. You’ll find the best of both worlds: Jenni Finlay’s intimate interviews with her father about his entire life. Brian T. Atkinson’s detailed conversations with songwriters about his astounding influence. No stone remains unturned. Look for the book next year, a captivating tale telling the story of arguably the most influential mentor, songwriter and venue owner in Texas music history.
"The simple fact is that James McMurtry may be
the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation..."
Stephen King | Entertainment Weekly
McMurtry's Up the East Slope, Down the Left Coast Tour
James McMurtry’s forthcoming full-band Up the East Slope, Down the Left Coast summer tour launches at Duling Hall in Jackson, Miss. on June 14 and routes throughout the region before concluding at Big Sky PBR Rodeo in Big Sky, Mont. on July 28. Major markets on this run include shows at legendary listening rooms 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville, Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, Ga. and the Vanguard in Tulsa, Okla. “We’re looking forward to playing some rooms we haven’t seen in a while,” says McMurtry, who’s been touring abroad recently. “I sure missed the States.” CLICK HERE for all tour dates and don't miss a show near you! CLICK HERE for dates and more!
Jenni has submitted her second poetry collection Orphan Poems to Mezcalita Press. Stay tuned this July for its release. Orphan Poems chronicles the past year in heartbreak and healing since Jenni's father's death through letters and poems written directly to him. These intimate pages offer a difficult but universal message: Even after the most painful times, it's all right to rediscover happiness again.
Jenni’s writing is beautiful, revelatory and like all my favorite writing – lived. - Rod Picott
Tim Easton backs narratives both personal (“Goodbye Amsterdam”) and political (“Porcupine”) with seamless songwriting (“Poor, Poor L.A.”). The modern day troubadour, a longtime busker in Europe and current East Nashville resident, has drawn on disparate roots influences for nearly twenty years in shaping a truly stellar catalog spanning deep-browed folk (“Broke My Heart”) through garage rock (“Burgundy Red”). “I listen to a good amount of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Hank Williams, Senior, still,” Easton says. “Townes Van Zandt is never far away. His lyrics and his songs keep you on your toes.” Easton's in peak form today – enjoying a thriving independent career after successful years on record labels such as New West – and we're enthusiastically capturing results. Keep an eye out: Burgundy Red Films will debut in 2019 with our tentatively-titled Easton documentary Goodbye Amsterdam.