Posts Tagged ‘Danny Barnes’

Editor’s Notes: Everyone please welcome Brett. B.!!  A fellow music loving friend & writer who was nice enough to contribute some wonderful musings to the Tiny Rager blog!

Resurrecting The Banjo

(by Brett B.)


Deliverance: 1972

1972. The year of DELIVERANCE. The year that a once proud American instrument was forever linked to hillbillies, Burt Reynolds in a canoe, and Ned Beatty squealing like a pig.  In the 35 years since DELIVERANCE was released and it’s theme song, “Dueling Banjos” became a punchline for anything even remotely redneck related, just the mention of the word “banjo” or a few notes picked on one has caused a chuckle and the anticipation of a joke containing either roadkill, moonshine, incest or all three.

Well, not anymore.  In the last few years, the music scene has re-embraced the banjo and begun to help it throw off the stigmata that has followed it for over three decades.  A once proud and noble and truly AMERICAN instrument is getting the respect that it had taken away from it so callously, all those years ago.  We can see in the last few years, the canonization and public recognition that this round cousin of the guitar so rightly deserves.

The mass appeal of the jam band scene and its constant desire to feverishly dig deeper and deeper into the music of our country’s past has certainly contributed greatly to this phenomenon.  This younger generation of musicians has embraced, and brought to their audiences, both the songs and instrumentations of a bygone era.  As technology heads into the digital future at warp speed, we are seeing the American music scene heading the other direction almost as fast.  It is as if these artists are seeking something more real and sincere and organic.  Something that is found in the simple picking of banjo strings.

Read almost any music site or magazine that covers the jam band scene, and chances are in at least one article, concert review or album review you will see the word “banjo”.  Oh, sure you will see the occasional fiddle or washboard mentioned.  But let’s face it: The banjo is the new “bad boy” of instruments.  If you want your band or it’s music to simply scream authenticity?  Get yourself a banjo.

Dave Johnston of YMSB

Dave Johnston of YMSB

Yonder Mountain String Band has been at the forefront of this scene and probably the best known of the jam bands who have brought bluegrass to a whole new generation of listeners.  Thanks in no small part to Dave Johnston on banjo.  Other names who you will always see mentioned in the same sentence with banjo?  Danny Barnes, for one.  The wunderkind of the banjo, Danny has been tearing up for years and is practically worshiped as one of the best players out there today.   Otis Taylor’s most recent album, RECAPTURING THE BANJO pretty much says it all right there in the title. Put this album on and close your eyes.  You will immediately feel as if you have been transported back in time and place to the Faulkner’s old South.  You can almost smell the magnolia blossoms and hear the posse chasing the escaped chain gang prisoners through a Cypress choked swamp.

For years, Tony Trischka was the lone voice in the musical wilderness using the banjo to make himself heard.  Album after quality album filled with fun songs, quick pickin’ and a real love of what he was doing.  And after guesting on a Tony T. album, the one and only Steve Martin just released his first album of banjo music, THE CROW: NEW SONGS FOR THE 5-STRING BANJO. (I wonder if anyone has ever done a thesis on the symbolism of the crow and it’s occurrence in American banjo music?)

So, after reading a recent article on Eddie Van Halen’s new signature guitar that will cost upwards of $3,000, one has to wonder if the days of the flashy axe playing front man are about to be replaced.  Could we someday witness the release of the Steve Johnston Flying V Banjo? Or even better: One day hear someone described as the “Jimi Hendrix of the Banjo”?

Only time and the banjo will tell.

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April 2010’s Potential Show Run Down

(If there is ANYTHING that I have missed that must not be missed, please point it out. I add things constantly.)

April 1st, 2010

  • ($15 adv) South Memphis String Band feat. Alvin Youngblood Hart, Jimbo Mathus & Luther Dickinson @ Le Poisson Rouge
  • ($35) Rebirth Brass Band & Dumpstaphunk @ Highline Ballroom

April 2nd, 2010 –

April 3rd, 2010 –

  • (Free) Second Line Across the Brooklyn Bridge @ 10am
  • ($5) Rubblebucket, Woodhands @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($??) Dred Scott w/ Gary Wong @ Blue Fin

April 4th, 2010 –

April 5th, 2010 –

  • ($20) Jason Lindner Trio (The Omer Avital Group) @ Small Jazz Club

April 6th, 2010 –

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall

April 7th, 2010 –

  • ($5 – Suggested donation) The London Souls @ Brooklyn Bowl Benefit for Earth Day

April 8th, 2010

  • ($45) Caetano Veloso @ Terminal 5
  • ($7) ?UESTLOVE: DJ Residency @ Brooklyn Bowl

April 9th, 2010

  • Rock The Resort II
  • ($42) George Clinton & The P-Funk Allstars @ B.B. Kings
  • ($10) Apollo Run w/ Horns @ The Bell House
  • ($10) The Sullivan Street Shakedown w/ DJs JT Donaldson and Nutritious, VJ Mamiko Kushida, Dynasty Electric (DJ Set) @ Sullivan Hall (11:30 PM – 4am)

April 10th, 2010

  • Rock The Resort II
  • ($53+) George Benson @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (Someone needs to go to this for me, so sad I can’t make it!)
  • ($10) Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band @ 171 Lombardy St.
  • ($8) 6Figures Live @ The Blue Note
  • ($15) Particle @ The Bell House

April 11th, 2010 –

  • Rock The Resort II
  • ($12) Danny Barnes (The Legendary Shack Shakers) @ Mercury Lounge
  • ($Free) The Revelations @ City Winery

April 12th, 2010

  • ($55) Ben Folds and a Piano
  • (Free) NY Funk Exchange @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($10) Daniel Sadownick & Tomas Doncker @ Blue Note

April 13th, 2010

  • ($55) Ben Folds and a Piano
  • ($45-$65) Joan Osbourne @ City Winery
  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall

April 14th, 2010

  • ($30) Refugee AllStars of Sierra Leone @ Highline Ballroom
  • ($7) Trouble & Bass @ The Studio at Webster Hall
  • ($12) Danny Barnes (The Legendary Shack Shakers) @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($18) Cherry Poppin Daddies @ The Bell House
  • (Free) Borahm Lee @ Brooklyn Bowl 2nite w/ NYC hip hop band DUJEOUS

April 15th, 2010

  • ($?? ) Ches Smith w/Mary Halvorson Trio @ The Jazz Gallery
  • ($7) ?UESTLOVE: DJ Residency @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • (Free) Milo Z @ The Red Lion

April 16th, 2010

April 17th, 2010 –

April 18th, 2010 –

  • We got nothin’ today? Weird!

April 19th, 2010

  • ($10) – Ches Smith w/ Brian Drye @ IBeam
  • ($25) The Mingus Big Band (Charles Mingus is turning 88!!) @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($50) Snoop Dog @ Brooklyn Bowl

April 20th, 2010

April 21st, 2010

April 22nd, 2010 –

  • The 2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
  • (Free) Grace Potter & the Nocturnals @ Times Square (outside)
  • ($10) Funk Fest Five with NY Funk Exchange, Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($35) Pee Wee Ellis All Star Band w/ Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, and Mulgrew Miller @  Iridium Jazz Club

April 23rd, 2010

April 24th, 2010

  • The 2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
  • ($15) Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • (Free: 9pm) Apollo Run @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($25) DAM-FUNK @ Rocks Off Cruise
  • ($10) Bobby Previte will be playing a concert-length solo acoustic drum show for the first time @ Rose Live
  • ($35) Pee Wee Ellis All Star Band with Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, and Mulgrew Miller @  Iridium Jazz Club
  • ($10) Turkuaz, Ikebe Shakedown, and Lyle Divinsky: CLUSTERFUNK (Brooklyn’s monthly funk freakout) @ Cameo

April 25th, 2010

  • The 2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
  • ($35) Pee Wee Ellis All Star Band w/ Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, and Mulgrew Miller @  Iridium Jazz Club
  • (Free) Laura Cheadle @ Rockwood Music Hall (from 6pm-645pm)

April 26th, 2010

  • The 2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
  • (Free) Aarron Dugan’s Theory of Everything: Jason Lindner Trio & Mark Guiliana @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • (Free) Mark Guiliana: Now vs. Now @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • (Free) Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings on The Colbert Report
  • (Free) Gogol Bordello on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

April 27th, 2010

  • The 2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
  • ($20) Jamie Lidell @ Bowery Ballroom
  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • (Sold Out) Gogol Bordello @ The Brooklyn Bowl

April 28th, 2010

April 29th, 2010

  • The 2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
  • ($50) Rodrigo (Sanchez) and Gabriela (Quintero) @ Radio City Music Hall
  • (Free w/ 1 drink min) American Babies @ The Living Room ($5 suggested donation)
  • ($7) ?UESTLOVE: DJ Residency @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($10) Mark Guiliana w/ Chris Morrisey Quartet @ Barbes
  • (Sold Out) Night of the Licing Funk : Devi, Three Legged Fox, Jay D. Clark, & Zach Maxwell
  • ($20) OK Go @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • ($25) Los Amigos Invisibles @ S.O.B.s

April 30th, 2010 –

~ See May’s Potential Show Run Down ~

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