Danny Barnes

Record review

Phases & Stages

Danny Barnes

Get Myself Together (Terminus)

Founding Bad Liver and banjoist extraordinaire Danny Barnes is quite the wordsmith. As a Liver and solo – 2003's Dirt on the Angel for starters – Barnes writes taut, witty lyrics, inspired by scribes like Blake and Hawthorne. Yet the characters on this Texan's fifth solo platter seem to arise from a Bukowski tale. Take the Schleprock in "Get Me out of Jail": "I got drunk this morning and I went off to work. By 9 or 10, I cashed it in and threw up on my shirt." Other acts in this Altman-esque aural film aren't as lighthearted. Barnes, who sings and plays no fewer than seven instruments and is joined throughout by Grammy-winning bassist/engineer/producer Garey Shelton and fiddler Brittany Haas, offers up a wonderful Carter Family treatment of "Let Your Light Shine on Me," by legendary Texas gospel bluesman Blind Willie Johnson. Performances throughout are lively and warm, with nary a trace of Nashville cardboardism. Barnes & Co. even hit one out of the park with the Stone's fastball "Sympathy for the Devil." Since moving from Austin to the Seattle area in 1997, Danny Barnes has indeed gotten himself together: His finest album to date proves it.

****

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