Danny Barnes and Matt Sircely


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Danny Barnes and Matt SircelyLong revered as a visionary in American music, Danny Barnes is joining with mandolinist Matt Sircely for a Northwest tour. Placing poetic songwriting alongside instrumental mastery, Barnes and Sircely together form a powerhouse duo that conjures great traditions in American music right before launching into some of the most innovative acoustic music you’ve never heard. Friends and collaborators for ten years, most of their pickin’ has taken place in Barnes’ kitchen, including recording for Danny’s Minner Bucket Records, and now they’re ready to share what they’ve been cooking up.


Growing up in Texas, Danny Barnes found early inspiration among his parents’ classic country records and watching banjoist Stringbean perform with Bill Monroe. As a young musician, he staked his claim in the punk scene, determined to take the banjo to places it had never been.

From his time as bandleader of the Austin-based Bad Livers to his recent collaborations with artists like Dave Matthews, Mike Gordon, Bill Frisell or the Yonder Mountain String Band, Danny Barnes is among the most influential musicians in modern American stringband music. A prolific composer, Barnes places old-time music in the same room as the adventurous passages of American composer Charles Ives and the progressive songwriting of John Hartford.

As a songwriter, Barnes crafts pieces that reference classic American literature and character development as much as the musical traditions that contextualize them. His songs often conjure castaway characters from the dustbin of society, bringing them to life with a lyrical resonance so rich that listeners can’t help but straighten up and take heed.


Though he has always considered himself a songwriter first and foremost, Matt Sircely is best known for his mandolin work as a founding member of the swing band Hot Club Sandwich, bandleader and founder of the adventurous ensemble New Forge, or as an accompanist to West Coast songwriters like David Jacobs-Strain. Music lovers may recognize him from sitting in with folks like David Grisman, David Bromberg or Tony Furtado.

True, Sircely’s mandolin work landed him on the cover of Mandolin Magazine at the age of 33, but Barnes cites Sircely’s songwriting as his most significant contribution to the world of music. Sircely’s songs cover a broad range of territory – from stark and emotional historical fiction to lurid tales of modern-age robber barons.

Sircely has joined Barnes’ roster of Minner Bucket Records artists for his first release of original songs, recorded, supported and produced by Barnes.

During the January 2012 tour, Danny Barnes will focus on guitar work, and Matt Sircely will play mandolin and tenor guitar.

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