Michael Barnett

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Bio

I’ve been having a blast travelin’ and performing around the country and internationally with heroes of mine. Having grown up in Nashville, I have a special place in my heart for bluegrass and country music. Fiddle camps-- Mark O’Connor String Conference, Christian Howes’ Creative String Camp, Mt. Shasta Fiddle Camp---have provided a tremendous source of inspiration and exposure to incredible... more

I’ve been having a blast travelin’ and performing around the country and internationally with heroes of mine. Having grown up in Nashville, I have a special place in my heart for bluegrass and country music. Fiddle camps-- Mark O’Connor String Conference, Christian Howes’ Creative String Camp, Mt. Shasta Fiddle Camp---have provided a tremendous source of inspiration and exposure to incredible players from a wide variety of genres. The great bluegrass fiddler Aubrey Haynie inspired me to record my first CD “Lost Indian” when I was 14. One summer at Crystal Plohman’s ‘International Fiddle Camp’ at Vanderbilt, I had the great honor of working with Bobby Hicks, Buddy Spicher, and Vassar Clemens, three of the finest people and fiddlers there have ever been. They willingly showed me everything I could get my ears on.

A year or two after the camp when I was 15, Bobby introduced me to the legendary Jesse McReynolds. I had the incredible opportunity to tour with Jesse and his Virginia Boys including regular weekend performances on the Grand Ole Opry. Touring around on Jesse’s bus at such a young age was a very humbling experience and really brought the music and legacy of Jim and Jesse alive for me. Jesse is one of the great bluegrass pioneers and his humble spirit and musical originality has been a huge personal and musical influence on me.

After I moved to Massachusetts from Nashville, I collaborated on several projects. I became good friends with Boston based mandolinist, Joe Walsh, who introduced me to one of New England’s renowned folk bands, Northern Lights. Together we toured with Northern Lights and recorded “One Day” in 2007. Through that project, I met the great folk singer, Jonathan Edwards, who later invited me to record on his project “My Love Will Keep”. Even earlier, I collaborated with banjoist Gordon Stone. Gordon really helped me develop my improvisation, and got me playing out as part of the Gordon Stone Trio. Our CD “Rhymes with Orange” won Vermont’s 2006 Album of the Year Award. Through Gordon, I met guitarist/mandolinist/singer Michael Daves. After a few years of mandolin lessons and scattered performances together, Michael introduced me to Tony Trischka, one of the most influential banjo players in roots music. I have had the honor of touring with Tony on his “Double Banjo Bluegrass” project and “Territory.” Through the “Double Banjo” project, I shared the stage with the great Bela Fleck, comedian/banjoist Steve Martin, and Greg Liszt (banjoist of Crooked Still /Bruce Springsteen fame).

Soon after, Greg conceived The Deadly Gentlemen, www.deadlygentlemen.com. We have recorded “The Bastard Masterpiece,” our first album in 2008 and completed “Carry Me To Home” in 2010 with current band members including myself, Greg, Stash Wyslouch, Dominick Leslie, and Sam Grisman. Sam connected me with his dad, David Grisman, who in 2009 decided to change his David Grisman Quintet (DGQ) to a Sextet because he wanted to bring the fiddle back into his music. David has been a huge inspiration to me, and has taught me a lot about the history of bluegrass as well as what it means to be a good all-around musician. I’ve had some BIG shoes to fill of past fiddle greats in the history of the DGQ: Vassar Clemens, Stephan Grappelli, Darol Anger, Mark O’Connor… all heroes of mine. Grant Gordy, the DGQ guitarist, and I have also been playing together is his own quartet. Stayed tuned. These days, between tours, living in Boston and intermittently attending Berklee College of Music has provided a chance to hang out and play music with some of the finest musicians of this generation’s acoustic music scene.

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