Danny Barnes Minor Dings (Cavity Search)
Minor Dings (Cavity Search)
Reviewed by Christopher Hess, Fri., Nov. 24, 2000
Minor Dings (Cavity Search)This latest solo effort by Bad Livers main man and former Austinite Danny Barnes is actually an earlier solo effort, recorded and manufactured at his home in Port Hadlock, Wash., in 1998, and sold through his Web site and at shows. Mastered and re-released on Portland indie Cavity Search, Minor Dings is a joy of an album, awesome in its simplicity and genius in its execution. The songs are all over the place, jumbling genres with the joy of a kid with a new chemistry set, Barnes playing and programming everything you hear. Notably, it's infused everywhere with the blues, from the grinding cadences to the consistent lead of what sounds like a banjo being played with a slide. It's that sound, that hard-drawled, dirty pickin' sound, that sets the tone for Minor Dings. It's a banjo album, to be sure, and while the banjo is the album's main component, Barnes' most inspired playing and the most enthralling junction of melody and fingerwork comes on the album's closer, "Play the Guitar," wherein Barnes puts the banjo aside and produces golden layers of six-string acoustic genius. Many years and a world of experience separate this album's revisitation of "Dust on the Bible" and the one that appeared on the Bad Livers' 1993 release of the same name, but the fact remains that Barnes does with a banjo what no other contemporary artist does -- he makes it dazzling, he makes it moving, and he makes it rock.