Buskin & Batteau, Janie Barnett opens

February 10, 2018 7PM
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$50 / 45

Buskin & Batteau have been winning hearts and minds with their soulful acoustic balladry and fun-filled performances for more years than they care to remember.

"We're not from the Cambridge, came-over-on-the-Mayflower first wave of folkies [ Joan Baez, Tom Rush, Eric Von Schmidt ]," says Buskin, "but we'd like to think we've stolen many of their licks."

The Washington Post called their work "an irresistible amalgam of melodic, sensual pop, folkie grit and killer wit.”  And while their humor runs the gamut from topical irony ("Second Homeless") to terminal silliness ("Jews Don't Camp"), it's their unique combination of instrumental virtuosity (piano and violin, primarily, though both play other instruments as well), soaring vocal harmonies and unparalleled lyric-writing that prompts the standing ovations and rhapsodic reviews: "The most musically sophisticated act in folk" –The New York Times; "Acoustic Heaven" – The Boston Globe.  And with the help of uber-percussionist Marshal Rosenberg, they manage to kick the rhythm pretty hard for a couple of seasoned troubadors.

Famous in the eighties as superstar jingle writers --Batteau's "Heartbeat of America" heads a list of a hundred or more hits -- they've also divided their time between writing songs for other artists -- e.g., Judy Collins, Tom Rush, Astrud Gilberto, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Peter, Paul and Mary and Bette Midler; helping a diverse group of non-profits -- Paul Newman's Hole-In-The-Wall Camps, Harry Chapin's WhyHunger, Roger Payne's Ocean Alliance, among others; and hosting their quirky, unpredictable Radio B&B show on WPKN-FM and WPKN.org.  Their latest CD, Love Remembered, Love Forgot, was recorded at Neale Eckstein's Fox Run Studios in Sudbury, MA, features some delightful guest appearances and is available now!




Virginia native Janie Barnett cut her teeth on bluegrass festivals, church coffeehouses, and the American Folklife Festival. When she met iconic Americana barnstormer and Newgrass pioneer John Hartford at Folklife, so began her love affair with the alternate roots movement. “I couldn’t commit to being a 100mph flat-picker. But I fell in love with those sounds. And behind every great song was a renegade twist to be had. That renegade twist is really part of my DNA.” The seeds were planted for a lifelong quest for a hybrid style that favored roots-music instruments, the whimsical storytelling of her favorite author John Steinbeck, and the social passions of one who grew up in the backyard of Washington D.C.

One can see the roots of this renegade impulse throughout Barnett’s growing up. Socialist grandparents on one side, a newsman father, and a labor advocate mother. Barnett defected from the local high school for boarding school, where, ironically, she found her tribe of outside-the-box musicians. She then defected from the Ivy League to play in a roots and reggae band in New Hampshire and Cambridge, then ultimately defecting from the New England music scene to New York City.

“New York was a mecca for me, as it is for so many. I knew the early folk scene had dissipated, but I figured there was something in the air – or the water – that would drive me towards the music and the tribe I was searching for.“ And then another unlikely turn. Barnett rose in the freelance world, making a name for herself as a smart, precise, and professional chameleon musician, singing on countless film, tv and commercial projects, as well as singing backup for iconic stars like Linda Ronstadt, Celine Dion, and Rickie Lee Jones. Appearances on SNL, The Today Show, membership in an elite session musician supergroup – these were the bookings of that time. “Success in this world has been very important to me, because I value craft so much. It was gratifying to have that validated. I was asked to sing every style convincingly – pop, blues, rock, jazz. Sound like Linda, they would demand, or Bonnie, or Lucinda, these were singers I had backed up on live gigs. It was an oddly satisfying challenge. It also came at a time when I had to turn down tours, because I was raising a daughter. Disappearing for weeks at a time was not an option I was willing to take.”

Barnett rose to become one of the top 20 session singer calls, while continuing her search for her own essential expression. The essential songs, the essential timbre, the core family of musicians. “I was also going through the long process of my marriage ending. My partner and I needed to set each other free in order to be ourselves. I recognized I had to own that process in the music.” Several collections of music were released through those years, but none Barnett felt had fully captured her authentic voice as a writer or musician.

“You See This River” is the culmination of Barnett’s years of searching and exploring, and living a life that many of us find ourselves living: “By trial and error we find ourselves, we retrieve ourselves from our own fires and folly. We poke and prod and with luck we find our authentic selves and stop looking over our shoulders. The renegade is part of my DNA in a good way, but it also played a role in running from myself. This record, these songs, reflect a period where I stopped running. So the stories reflect the process, and the sound reflects the result. “

Praise for the record include Performing Songwriter Magazine’s founder, Lydia Hutchinson: “I have been playing [You See This River] in my kitchen now all day today. I. Love. It. It’s so beautiful…the melodies, arrangements, the voice…the whole vibe. It’s so consistently good, one of those rare recordings you can listen to all the way through, every track.” Barnett notes that many fans report they love listening in their cars. “I love that comment, because it ties in to the idea that this collection is about travelling and navigating.” Barnett’s live shows, with and without the fuller Blue Room, reveal a strong community connection to these themes of self-knowledge, as well as civic engagement, gun culture, spirituality, and parenting.

The stories here also reflect the primal instinct for nostalgia, the beautiful and terrible journey up and down the river. The persistence, romanticism, and pig-headedness of humans. We navigate the twists and turns of the river, feeling watched by those on the banks. All we know for sure is that we will float another day.




Please note that the seating chart has recently been updated, so be sure you are purchasing the seats you want.  If you do not purchase all seats at your table, other patrons may be seated with you.  Your ticket reserves you a place at the table you select but not a specific location at that table.  There is no food or beverage minimum.  All tickets are non-refundable.

$50 / 45
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