Danny Barnes

Hi Danny,

When I was a teenager it was important that the bands I liked were "cool", whether it was Mingus, Kiss or Patti Smith. Now I'm older and have a wife and family, I find it important to me that the musicians I listen to are kinda nice people.

In this world where a musician's views on politics hold more weight than an academics, should this really matter? Do you think it influences your own listening and, is it me or do banjo players seem to be lovely people in general?

Thanks for your time,


Danny Barnes responded on 06/05/2017

man i don't know that's a heavy question. i think that does influence my listening. in general the banjo community is/can be very nice. as it is said, you aren't IN traffic you ARE traffic, and in that sense i suppose i'm a part of that community. you ask a very good question here. it's tough to listen to someone that's a knucklehead or whatever even if they are really great musically. but...i think in a sense, the self comes through in the music and you can kind of hear someone's story even in instrumental music. your question has made me think. thank you.

Previous question

I love your records, those last two are so great and in addition offer an interesting contrast in playing and in sound.

Did you do the recordings very differently due to one being the open back banjo played without picks vs the bluegrass banjo with the picks? Different microphones or anything?

You really show, across the many recordings you've made, the great range of sound the banjo can make, as well as its artistic potential.

Danny Barnes responded on 06/05/2017
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Hey, Danny, I don't have a question, just wanted to say thanks. I've been playing guitar for years -- acoustic, travis-picking style. But my hearing has been failing for years and I finally had to get a cochlear implant just to function in my job (the kind of job with meetings at big tables and you'd better be able to hear people). Though I still play the guitar, it's not the same -- the quality of a guitar's sound suffers with the cochlear. But I picked up an inexpensive banjo at a great guitar store (in Evanston, Illinois) and I found that the sound of a banjo works really well for me. No problem hearing and appreciating that twangy, metalic, sharp pitch. Anyway, I've been teaching myself to make banjo sounds I like -- and your instructional videos on youtube really help. For one thing, you give people permission to do it their way. Transferring from guitar, that's nice. So thanks, for the friendly and down-to-earth help. I can still make music now.

Tom McNamee

Danny Barnes responded on 06/05/2017
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