Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder will be taking on Mike Barnett as their new fiddler. Mike will officially start with the band in 2017, but will be doing some shows still this year twinning with outgoing fiddle man Andy Leftwich who is departing after 15 years with the band.
Mike is a Nashville native who came of age musically in the Boston area. He studied at the Berklee College of Music and performed with noted northeastern acts like The Deadly Gentlemen, Joe Walsh, and Tony Trischka. But before leaving Nashville, Barnett also received some bluegrass grounding touring with Jesse McReynolds & the Virginia Boys. More recently he has also worked as a member of the David Grisman Quintet and the Bryan Sutton Band.
It sounds like Mike has all the training he needs to tackle the Skaggs gig.
With his 2014 album, One Song Romance, he also demonstrated himself to be a fine crafter of songs and tunes, and a talent to be recognized in modern string music.
Here’s one of my favorite videos Mike has created, a sparkling reharmonization of Bill Monroe’s Wheel Hoss with Jake Jolliff on mandolin.