By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Want more top stories? Sign up here for daily or weekly newsletters with our top news.
Matt Sircely, his partner in performing and exploration, is a fan from way back. He started listening to Barnes’ band, the Bad Livers of Austin, Texas, as very young man.
Barnes, the Texan, and Sircely, who’s from Pennsylvania, both moved out to the Pacific Northwest where they crossed paths, delighted in each other’s music and went on tour together.
The duo will arrive in Port Angeles this Saturday night for a Juan de Fuca Foundation benefit concert at Studio Bob, 118½ E. Front St. The show was a last-minute thing, and they’re keeping it simple. Music starts at 8 p.m., and admission is $10 at the door.
While Sircely is well-known for playing mandolin in the swing band Hot Club Sandwich and the bluegrass-Americana outfit New Forge, he’s also a songwriter about to release his first album of originals.
When Sircely and Barnes get together, they go for an innovative acoustic sound. They also tell old-fashioned American stories in song, stories about wayward characters, cast away from society.
“We met at a jam session or something,” Sircely said of Barnes.
“Danny invited me over to play and before long, he hired me for a festival in Oregon. Over the years, we’ve played a few dozen shows. He’s been supportive and encouraging of my music.
“I’m proud to be on his record label, Minner Bucket Records, which is coming out with a lot of really cool underground recordings.”
Barnes, for his part, found early inspiration among his parents’ classic country records and watching banjoist Stringbean perform with Bill Monroe. As a young musician, he staked his claim in the punk scene — as a banjo man.
He later led the Bad Livers and collaborated with Dave Matthews, Bill Frisell and the Yonder Mountain String Band.
Along with the band Cake and singer-songwriter Eliza Gilkyson, Barnes was invited to Port Angeles for the “Celebrate Elwha!” concert, which marked the start of the Elwha River dam removals in September 2011.
His concert with Sircely is a fundraiser for the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts (www.JFFA.org), which comes to Port Angeles on Memorial Day weekend, May 24-27.
“It’s a real honor,” Sircely said, “for us to participate in helping the festival any way we can. I really love how when I travel around the country, I hear great musicians speak warmly about the Juan de Fuca Festival — this is a good thing for Port Angeles, and really for our whole region.”
To learn more about the two musicians, visit www.dannybarnes.com and www.mattsircely.com.
For information about the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts, see its Facebook page or phone 360-457-5411.