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DIRT ON THE ANGEL (Terminus) • Danny Barnes

Classic Americana, in the truest sense of the word. The CD or the artist, take your pick. Dirt on the Angel is a testament to the oddball integrity and old fashioned musicianship that belongs in the collection of all lovers of music that isn't horse dung.

Bill Frisell calls him a teacher and a close friend, Chuck Leavell raves about his songwriting. Both of these musical giants collaborate on this excellent disc of many American styles. Barnes is a player's player and attracts other gifted friends like Darol Anger on violins, Carlton Jackson on drums, Dirk Powell on banjo, accordion, and guitars, and Gary Shelton on bass, at whose Seattle studio most of the recording was done.

Barnes was nationally known first as the co-founder and main songwriter of The Bad Livers, an Austin band that played a high energy version of country and bluegrass, and old time music. They cut a half dozen records that were highly praised, and toured extensively for years. This is Danny's second solo record on the Terminus label, we're gonna circle back and get the previous one, "Things I Done Wrong." Maybe you heard him, as we first did, on the fabulous Bill Frisell record called The Willies (and if you haven't had that pleasure, check out some clips from it on Listen page #15).

Barnes plays the living hell outta the banjo and the guitar, that's for damn sure. He wrote thirteen great songs on this record, and did killer covers of Beck's "Loser" and The Faces' "Ooh La La." (Before his death, bassist Ronnie Lane was a close musical compadre of Barnes as well.) The songs cover a range of topics, most importantly food, love, baseball, music, that kind of thing, metaphorically speaking.

Barnes writes with great humor and intelligence, so his music hits the avid listener in a lot of ways. This music has the vitamins and nutrients you've got to drive to find. We recommend it very highly, and hasten you toward the Listen page for a quick audition of the title song and the smokin' "I Likes My Chicken Hot," then come on back and buy it from Terminus (release date August 12th). • FG

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