your insider guide for a local perspective on Nashville, Tennessee.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Q&A with Mr. Dave Barnes!

Dave Barnes is the total package. Funny, genuine, incredibly good looking, and man he can write (+ sing) a song. I was thrilled to sit down with him recently to discuss his upcoming headlining Ryman show (tickets available here), new album Carry on San Vicente, and of course his Nashville faves.

How about we dive right on in?

EN: Tell me a bit about the process of writing and recording Carry On, San Vicente.  The story behind it, if you will.

DB: It's crazy to say, this is my 14th if you include four EP's and two Christmas records... I've never done a record like this, and, it's probably one of the most fun albums I've ever written. It felt like something was happening in a different part of my brain. I put some heavily constructed demos together (which, he mentioned, were heavily influenced by the Eagles' greatest hits) – I wanted everything to have a place and a part. One of the biggest takeaways from the Eagles albums is that everything really has a place in their songs. You don't wonder what something is doing, you know what it's doing. So I met with (co-producer) Ed Cash and played him some of my songs, and he said "if you do this, we have to do it together." He's a huge Eagles fan. I hired a bunch of guys who were friends of mine, gave them the vision for it – thankfully, everybody was super excited and able to understand what I was trying to do. We got in there, and recorded it in like two days. It was super fast.

EN: Is San Vicente an actual locale? I Googled, and only found a healthcare clinic. 

DB: It's kind of an area slash a road in LA. But a healthcare clinic is actually what it's about. 

EN: There aren't enough songs about the healthcare industry. It's the perfect representation of Nashville - healthcare, and music. 

DB: This is the conversation I wanted to have about the record. It's really why I wrote it. 

EN: What are your favorite cuts on the album?

DB: The title track to me is arguably my favorite. They all are very special – but I think that one feels the most to me what I was trying to do. From the lyric, to how it feels, to the instrumentation. That's the one that if people want to hear something from the album, I tell them to check out. I really love it.

EN: What does it mean to you to headline and take the stage at the Ryman, one of the most revered venues in the world?

DB: I don't know how to put it into the words. It was something that was so extraordinary to me that it never really was in my sight. Of course I dreamed to do it, but it never really felt very realistic. Going there to see bands like Coldplay, John Mayer, Paul Simon, all these bands – was like, this is a place for them. As I started to see more and more bands that were less and less 'major label' bands, I started to think, hold on a second – does that mean I may be able to play there? So I called my manager... he called me back with dates, and I had to pull over and lay in a field. I'm so excited. I love the Shadowboxers and Lucie (Silvas, opening the show), I love that it is a Nashville night, that was important to me. It's a Nashville night at the Ryman. This set is the best set I've had by far – this is the set I want people to hear. We're playing the best songs we can.

EN: OK – in honor of Cowboy School of Dave Barnes (a hilarious series on Dave's Youtube channel), let's go with a few shotgun style questions which cover your fave Nashville locales*.

*Want to live like Dave? Rhetorical, I realize. I've linked to all recs so you'll be able to check them out yourself!


You're not going to believe this, but I have to. I love Martin's Burger. And then, believe or not, I love the bar at Whole Foods. The Pharmacy is amazing.


I'll tell ya. I gotta go with SATCO. I have a lot of affection for this place – I have so many memories there.

Outdoor activities:

You'll often find me running along Belmont Boulevard. I love that stroll, the extrovert in me really enjoys it.


Kayne Prime, that place is bananas.

Date night:

Last date night was Moto. That was so good. 

Coffee Shop:

I really really like The Well, and I really really like 8th and Roast.

If you have a friend coming to town, and they want one meal in Nashville – where is it:

I think Kayne Prime is my favorite bang for your buck, you can't go wrong. You can order anything there and you'll walk away thinking it was amazing. But, if you're looking for a quick meal, I really think the best place is 12 South Taproom. It's really good food... They have a salmon dish there that is one of my top 2 or 3 meals in Nashville. It's consistently good. 

"Off the beaten path" spot:

I'm going to have to go with Taproom.


I love White's Mercantile, and I really like Haymakers, too. 

Other than Ryman – Your go to place to catch a show:

Ron Brice at 3rd and Lindsley, I owe so much to. I play there, and I go there all the time. 

Thanks Dave, for taking the time to chat and for all your Nashville recommendations. We look forward to seeing you this Saturday at the show!




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