September 21, 2012
Barnaby Bright open
Political activist, singer-songwriter, blogger, multi-instrumentalist — these are only some of the words used to describe Erin McKeown. The Boston Globe says: “Her playing is so muscular, her arrangements so well conceived that she succeeds brilliantly. As with all truly great guitarists, the wonder is less in her chops than her choices.” ¶ Opening the show is Barnaby Bright, a husband-wife team of Rebecca and Nathan Bliss. Rebecca’s smooth, melodic vocals are reminiscent of Karen Carpenter or Shelby Flint yet rooted in her operatic training and Nathan’s incorporation of his jazz background into Garfunkel-y acoustic compositions bring diverse styles together to the folk in the road: a marriage of minds and hands and music.
After eight full-length records, three EPs, and over 12 years of touring the globe non-stop, writer, performer, and multi-instrumentalist Erin McKeown is just getting warmed up. Over the last decade, Erin has spent an average of 200 nights onstage each year. She has appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Later with Jools Holland, NPR, BBC, and has had her music placed in numerous films, television shows, and commercials. She has even written a song via text message with her friend Rachel Maddow.
Erin’s compelling and energy packed stage show teamed with her seemingly effortless ability to bridge genres has garnered her international acclaim. She regularly collaborates and performs with her peers Andrew Bird, Anais Mitchell, Ben Sollee, Carrie Rodriguez, Mike Doughty, Amos Lee, and Josh Ritter. She has also performed at many of the world’s esteemed music festivals including Bonnaroo, Newport Folk, Glastonbury, and Oxegen. Erin explains the driving force in her career, “I make music because I am made of music. I feel it and express it constantly. I speak through my songs because I feel a deep sense of responsibility as a citizen to participate in the world the best way I know how.”
In the summer of 2009, Erin created “Cabin Fever,” a live internet concert series broadcast from her picturesque cabin in rural Massachusetts. Described as “Wayne’s World meets the Judy Garland Show,” the series has garnered considerable attention for its entertaining exploration of the intersections of art, technology, and commerce. In the last several years, the Brown University graduate has launched a successful side-career as a political activist, lobbying regularly on Capitol Hill in an effort to connect the worlds of policy, music, and technology. Erin has spoken at some of the country’s top music and technology conferences including Future of Music Coalition’s Policy Summit, Free Press’ National Conference for Media Reform, Re-Think Music, and Innovate/Activate 2.0. Erin is also a 2011–12 fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Erin is currently recording her ninth studio record, set to be released in the very near future.
Photo of Erin McKeown by Nancy Palmieri
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Indie folk rock duo Barnaby Bright has garnered high accolades for their lyrically captivating and impeccably balanced songwriting and sound. The ying to each other’s yang, Becky’s angelic voice enchants audiences, while Nathan’s brilliant mastery of multiple instruments and writing styles guides the songs down their path. Finalists in the prestigious New York Song Circle Contest for two years in a row, Barnaby Bright was awarded the Grand Prize, winners in November 2010 for their song, “Don’t Look Down.”
Between Nathan’s bachelor degree in saxophone performance and jazz composition from Berklee College of Music as well as a Masters of Recording from The Conservatory of the Recording Arts & Sciences in Tempe, Arizona and Becky’s degree in vocal performance, it’s no surprise this Kansas-based married duo wrote and self-produced their first album, Wake The Hero. In the three years since releasing their album they have traveled all over the US, toured Europe three times promoting Wake the Hero and playing at some of the world’s finest music festivals. They were voted the Most Wanted to Return at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2011. Last year Amazon.com chose their follow up EP, Gravity, as one of the top 100 albums of 2011. Barnaby Bright is a classic vision of timeless indie folk rock in all its glory.
- In several distinctive ways — voice, dynamic subtlety, and sheer songwriting ability — Erin McKeown is in a class of her own.
Sunday Times (UK)
- Her operative mood is effortless grace. LA Weekly
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- Honestly, I haven’t felt this good at a folk-rock gig since seeing the Indigo Girls in their prime. Barnaby Bright has a graceful, uplifting energy reminiscent of the Indigos, but also have a virtuosity that is extremely unique. Becky can be festive but also sings with a mesmerizing stateliness that evokes Mary Fahl of the October Project at times, while Nate’s vocals and guitar playing are gifted and creative throughout. They have a special chemistry that helps erase cynicism while giving hope that the best is yet to come. STEVE MORSE