Fans of the eclectic string music scene that emanated from New England in the 1970s and 80s will surely recall being enthralled by the acoustic guitar work of Russ Barenberg. He was a member of Country Cooking with Tony Trischka, Fiddle Fever with Jay Ungar and Matt Glaser, and Laughing Hands with Andy Statman.
He recorded a number of popular instructional packages for Homespun Tapes – back when they were released as audio cassettes. Most are still available, though now in audio CD format.
His 1980 solo project, Cowboy Calypso, was hugely influential on a generation of young string musicians, both for his bluegrass-inspired technical prowess and the lyrical, playful nature of his compositions. Russ released another solo project, Moving Pictures in 1988, and was a part of the fabulous Skip, Hop & Wobble CD with Jerry Douglas and Edgar Meyer in 1993.
Since that time, though not invisible on the music scene, Barenberg has not been a prominent performer or recording artist. Russ now lives and works in Nashville, focusing on a career outside of the music business. Fortunately, he has kept his hands on his guitar, writing new tunes all along.
And thanks to the good folks at Compass Records, we’ll all be able to hear them later this month when his first solo project in nearly 20 years is released. Aptly titled, When At Last, it features 11 new Barenberg compositions with guest contributions from Jerry Douglas, Dennis Crouch, Stuart Duncan, Viktor Krauss and Kenny Malone.
The CD’s imminent release is the occasion for a celebration tonight at The Station Inn in Nashville. Most of the guest artists from the CD will perform with Barenberg starting at 9:00 p.m. Don’t miss it if you’re in da’ville tonight.
When At Last is set for a June 26 release on Compass. Audio samples and pre-orders are available on the Compass web site.