What does it take to get eclectic banjo player Danny Barnes to record an acoustic bluegrass album?
Well, awarding him the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass in 2015 doesn’t seem to have hurt. In fact, when we spoke with him in September that year, he intimated that he may use the cash grant that accompanies the prize to do just that. He also expressed his deep admiration for the music of the late Don Stover, a banjo player who left quite an impact on bluegrass music in the 1970s.
And so we will have Stove Up on March 3, a tribute to Stover in banjo form, with contributions from Jason Carter on fiddle, Nick Forster on guitar, Mike Bub on bass, and Chris Henry on mandolin. Forster also served as producer.
Danny says that he is stoked (stoved up?) about this project.
“After 45 years of practicing, this is the first acoustic bluegrass record I’ve ever made. Nick, Mike, Jason, and Chris are bluegrass royalty! It was a sure enough honor to be able to make Stove Up, a loving homage to the great Don Stover.”
Two of Don’s timeless tunes are included, Black Diamond and Rockwood Deer Chase, along with reinterpretations of Scruggs classics Flint Hill Special, Farewell Blues, and Foggy Mountain Special, and three banjo/fiddle duets (Paddy on the Turnpike, John Hardy, and Bill Cheatum). Of course several of his clever originals are also featured, both instrumentals and with lyrics.
As Danny puts it, this is a culmination of those 45 years of playing…
“All these tunes on here (except the ones I made up), I’ve been playing and working on since I was a young boy. I’m STILL working on this stuff. My plan = never give up.”
Even on these treasured banjo standards, you still get the raw energy and distinctive tone that make Danny Barnes such a unique picker.
The official release isn’t until next month, but download purchases of Stove Up are enabled now from the popular online resellers.