Danny Barnes forms new trio for Elk Creek Cafe show

Banjo player Danny Barnes will perform at Elk Creek Cafe with mandolinist Joe K. Walsh and guitarist Grant Gordy.
Banjo player Danny Barnes will perform at Elk Creek Cafe with mandolinist Joe K. Walsh and guitarist Grant Gordy. Photo provided

Danny Barnes has been performing around world for more than 30 years. While life outside of the road has changed during that time, much of life as a touring musician has not.

“You still need to get out there and play for people, that hasn’t changed,” Barnes said. “Especially with the type of music I do, which is like a weird restaurant that serves good food ... you need to know where it is and know it’s out there.”

Barnes, a banjo player, will perform Aug. 14 at the Elk Creek Cafe and Aleworks with mandolin player Joe K. Walsh and guitarist Grant Gordy. He said the three have known each other for years from the festival circuit but have not performed together.

Barnes said their set will include his music plus some traditional songs from the Americana songbook.

“What you’re going to see is some fellas who spent a lot of time developing acoustic music and have been working on it for a long time,” Barnes said. When you’re around jazz or blues or bluegrass literature, know and can draw from it. Have a common language.”

Barnes has played all types of gigs over the course of his career and likened playing a venue like the Elk Creek to performing in someone’s living room, as opposed to the larger atmosphere of a music festival.

“At a festival, you only have about 50 minutes or an hour and it’s a little different because in a club people know each other and it’s more intimate,” Barnes said.

Last year, Barnes was the recipient of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, an award given by the comedian and banjo player to recognize excellence on the instrument. Barnes said he appreciates being recognized by someone he’s proud to call a friend.

“Steve is a smart guy, really studious and a great banjo player,” Barnes said. “It’s a neat thing that he’s doing for music, too. He’s really bring attention to people who have devoted their lives to stuff who might not get as much recognition.”


  • What: Danny Barnes
  • When: 5 p.m. Aug. 14
  • Where: Elk Creek Cafe, 100 W. Main St., Millheim
  • Info: www.elkcreekcafe.com