All Rights Reserved © Words & Photos by “Ragin'” Randy Harris
Danny Barnes, Grant Gordy & Joe K. Walsh
Cabaret at Germano’s, Baltimore, MD (Aug 11, 2016)
The name Danny Barnes is synonymous with two things: the banjo and fun. A master of his craft, Barnes is one of those “seen it all, done it all” musicians. He has toured the country with various different projects over two decades, mesmerizing audiences time and time again. His talents span beyond the limits of genre, although when he feels so inclined, he can pinpoint any genre you can name with his axe of choice. The first time I saw Danny Barnes play, I called him “the Hendrix of the banjo.” The sounds echoing forth from his banjo were like nothing I had ever heard before, and it hypnotized me into submission as I became an immediate fan.
On August 11, 2016, Danny Barnes graced an intimate and attentive audience to a beautiful evening of tunes at the
Cabaret at Germano’s, located in the heart of Little Italy in Baltimore, MD. Touring with him were two well-respected bluegrass musicians, Grant Gordy (David Grisman Quintet) and Joe K. Walsh (Gibson Brothers). Germano’s provided a very classy atmosphere, including great dinner and drink service from the wait staff and a welcoming, homely aura from the owners. As we finished up our dinners, the three musicians took their places in front of the microphones and immediately gave us the impression that this was going to be a relaxing but extremely fun evening of music.
The trio proceeded to bring us a mixture of originals, covers and traditional bluegrass tunes. It truly is amazing what three great musicians can do in the right atmosphere. In close quarters, these guys were really able to listen to each other and strategically decipher their various roles. Each instrument weaved its way through the songs, creating some beautiful and exciting improv sections. Everything from fast-pickin’ bluegrass, old time country, and melodic, jazz brought all of us in the audience to applause after every tune. The one thing that stood out most, however, is that signature grin of Mr. Danny Barnes. Whether he is singing, soloing or letting one of his bandmates take the reins, he is literally always smiling as if there is nothing in the world that makes him happier than having a banjo strapped around his neck. That smile is contagious. It seeps into all of those around him, musicians and audience alike, radiating throughout the room and bringing a distinct soul and energy to the music.
All of the elements of this show combined to provide a wonderful evening. Germano’s is a great place to relax, hear great music, and eat great food all at once. The staff is warm and welcoming, the shows are affordable, and they are now hosting music almost every night of the week. Barnes, Gordy and Walsh have really come into their own as a trio, and they all contributed to the intimate atmosphere by telling stories and cracking jokes with the audience. In short, great music + great people + great food = great show!