Danny Barnes has come to redefine the banjo’s perceived image in an eclectic career for which genre definitions have merely been a polite suggestion. From his early days as the driving force behind the impressive Austin-based Bad Livers, a band of pioneering Americana missionaries, through a prolific solo career and the development of his trademark 'Barnyard Electronics' project, a startling approach that incorporates digital technology and various effect pedals to stretch the tonal range of the instrument, Barnes has always listened to his proudly offbeat inner voice.
Banjo player extraordinaire Danny Barnes is the 2015 recipient of the 6th annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Described as “one of a kind” and widely acknowledged as “one of the best banjo players in America,” Barnes is recognized for his experimental sound. The raw and unpolished musical breadth of his compositions has propelled him across the industry today.
As a Texas native and one of bluegrass music’s most distinctive and innovative performers, Barnes is known for blending together different sounds in order to defy labeling. His desire to pick up the banjo stemmed from a Grandpa Jones and Stringbean concert he attended as a child. Moved by the performance, Barnes was first inspired to learn how to play the banjo at age ten. He continued his musical endeavors at the University of Texas, where he focused his studies on audio production and discovered his passion for recording music.
Barnes frequently plays with artists such as guitarist Bill Frisell, Dave Matthews, and keyboardist Wayne Horvitz and has composed the scores to Richard Linklater’s The Newton Boys and (with Frisell) the documentary American Hollow. Today he is working primarily on his solo-project, and sometimes tours with a trio consisting of Joe K Walsh, Grant Gordy, & himself. His upcoming album features all his most recent original works that will feature musicians such as Dave Matthews, Bill Frisell,