Over the years, he's formed and played with any number of bands all pretty much steeped in Americana forms. The Bad Livers lasted through much of the 1990s and released three acclaimed records on Sugar Hill.
In 2000, with bassist Keith Lowe and fiddler Jon Parry, he formed Thee Old Codgers. Things I Done Wrong is a fascinating album, filled with often disturbing, often hilarious Barnesisms and inventive, brilliant music, effortlessly played. Here, Barnes's lyrics follow the disjointed meanderings of actual minds. In the kickoff song, "Funtime," he muses, "I got me a girl and a thing for likker and another girl." "Good As I've Been to You," with its jumped-beats and complex/
trippy guitar interludes, bursts into an bertwanging chorus about breasts and RC Cola. For the purists, there are a couple of straight-ahead bluegrass gems like Acuff's "Better Times A-Coming." For the adventurous, he brings in an actual four-piece string section to play what seems to have once been a soulful banjo solo. It thrills me every time.
Danny Barnes returns to the Ark for a joint performance with fellow alt-country icon Robbie Fulks on Monday, February 5.
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