Me with Danny Barnes and Darrell Scott all wearing our “Barns” hats

Lumpy beanpole and dirt.

Don’t get your feelings hurt

Buy me some wine

And some good old turpentine

And get yourself a healthy little squirt”

–Chorus from Lumpy Beanpole and Dirt, Danny Barnes

Many years ago, when I first picked up the banjo, my friend Scotty Cooper gave me a Bad Livers CD and said, “you need to hear this guy”.  The song Little Bitty Town changed my life. Something about Danny Barns’ music resonated with me in a powerful way. I think it has to do with the way he elevates the invisible, forgotten, loser in life to a kind of mythical status. It was Danny Barne’s music that inspired me to start writing my own songs. He made it ok for me to explore my own, sometimes weird view on life.  Danny is a musician’s musician. He is deeply respected, not only for his song writing and masterful banjo playing, but also for the sheer, intellectual intensity he brings to thinking about music. I took a song writing workshop with him and was astounded when he began by saying, in his soft spoken, Texas, good-old-boy drawl ,” I don’t if any of y’all have read anything by the French Deconstructionists, but those guys really were a big influence on me”. I suppose, the pathway from French Deconstructionism to Lumpy Beanpole and Dirt, is clear if you know about such things but I’m sure Danny would be the first to say, “who cares”?

If you are a banjo player, I strongly recommend signing up for Danny Barnes’ Peghead Nation course. Even if you are not a banjo player, I would watch the Peghead intro video and go check out his website. You will learn a lot.

Danny’s Barnes Peghead Nation Intro Video 

Danny Barnes website 

Here’s a live version of Little Bitty Town. It pretty much sums it all up.  

And finally, here is a very entertaining story about the real life character that inspired the song Turpentine Willie.  This will give a little insight into where Danny comes from.   Click Here 

David Bernard

Author David Bernard

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