Jamie Barnes
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Jamie Barnes

Band Folk Adult Contemporary


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"Review of The Recalibrated Heart"

Jamie Barnes' third album continues in his established vein of reflective, accomplished folk-rock recorded at home — and if the evidence of opening track "Vampire Movie" is any indication, his ear for excellent self-production has only improved. From his warm voice to the way the piano softly nestles in the corner of the mix, this is as far from the rough-edged world of lo-fi as can be imagined, and if that's an aesthetic crime in some minds, more importantly it demonstrates that the ability to create an elegant, high-end album is no longer the realm of an overpriced studio. Once again being his own one-man band — the one guest appearance on "Day That Cuts Till Dawn" is John Burgess Ross on mandolin and accordion — Barnes' compositions effortlessly suggest contemplative warmth, spiritual ruminations and calm storytelling with hints of drama. It can be in the way that songs can suddenly end, or Barnes' ear for a great arrangement (check out the pure Lee Hazlewood theatrics on "Hell's Adopted Mile"). Sometimes it's all in the absolutely gripping subject matter — "Song for the Mofa Seven," discussing the attempts of a group of North Korean refugees who desperately tried and failed to gain asylum, and who have since gone missing after arrest in China, is all the more harrowing for its absolute, gentle calm. Occasionally some moments can be a bit abstruse — "Conflict Diamond" is an evocative phrase but doesn't quite succeed at the balance of winsome and mystic it would in the hands of, say, Marc Bolan. But these are small concerns set aside the lovely flow of the album — Barnes is building a quiet but notable legacy with his work, and The Recalibrated Heart is another strong success. - Ned Raggett
- All Music Guide

"Recalibrated Heart"

Louisville-based folk-pop singer/songwriter Jamie Barnes' third album The Recalibrated Heart is instantly marked by a clean, crisp sound – an especially refined version of his distinctly humble, hum-able, and hushed style of introspection. Other instruments subtly add to the voice-and-guitar set-up, expanding the palette (as his last LP did from the one before it), but in a thoughtful and not over-reaching way. And his voice and guitar alone shine, as well. His last two albums probed the shadows of one person's soul in a way, looking into inner conflicts and confusion. This album is just as probing, yet right from the start seems more attuned to the world around us, to social justice issues. The first few songs all unite personal fitting-in-the-world issues with global tales of struggle – with songs set in North Korea ("Song for the Mofa Seven") and Africa ("Conflict Diamond") – and add to that a filter of Biblical tales and spiritual journeying. The lyrical scope is even wider than that implies, though, with personal relationships of course playing a role; and there's an intriguing song about R.E.M. that starts with Bill Berry's brain aneurysm ("Violet Morning"). Every subject matter is handled deftly, poetic yet direct, with an emphasis on humanity. Singer/songwriters may come a dime a dozen, but those who mark their own distinct mark, as Jamie Barnes does, deserve our utmost attention. – dave heaton

- Erasing Clouds

"Sound Effects - Spiritual Strength"

Jamie Barnes' music is incredibly delicate, with a tenderness and ripe vulnerability that tears at your heart. His world is one of cautious hope and unbending faith, a landscape of barely hidden dangers tempered by the promise of better days. There's also an undeniable sadness balanced by a spiritual strength more suggested than splashed across a billboard -- it's inherent, built to last but never taken for granted.

Barnes' gorgeous new album, "The Recalibrated Heart," is his most fully realized work. There's a depth to the imagery and melodies that recalls the music of Sufjan Stevens and in many ways is just as rewarding.

It didn't come easy.

"The making of the record was a long and arduous process … about two years of work," Barnes said. "Most of the songs were recorded a year back and then completely destroyed and reworked after sheer frustration. Everything is actually a lot more simple musically than originally intended."

Barnes, 24, said that recurring spiritual struggles dominate the album thematically, and at times you can feel his frustration. His first two albums, "The Fallen Acrobat" and "Honey From the Ribcage," are filled with similar frustrations, delivered artfully enough to make Barnes' one of Louisville's most acclaimed, if not always recognized, songwriters.

"The music is just me working out my silly problems out loud," he said. "I've always done math on my fingers and toes just like I've always hoped and bellyached in a minor key. I am more affected by people sharing their testimonies verbally and perhaps my songs can be of service to others in that sense too. Love, fear and faith all compel me to write."

Barnes was born and raised in Louisville and began writing as a teenager, inspired by the music of Jim White, Tom Waits and Low. He is self-taught but had a live-in influence -- his father, Wayne, drummed for Tom Dooley and the Lovelights, a soul band in which Barnes often played bass.

Barnes studied English at the University of Louisville before music took over his life. He landed a deal with Silber Records, which released his first two records. A new label, Pink Bullett, put out "The Recalibrated Heart."

The critical success enjoyed by "Honey From the Ribcage" persuaded Barnes to go pro but, like his music, he's cautiously hopeful.

"I want my music to be of use to people," he said. "Of course, more attentive ears and more sales is welcomed and it helps me support my family. Most of all I want some college kid 40 years from now to dig the CD out of his parents' collection and deem it cool ... because it won't happen in this lifetime."
- Jeffrey Lee Puckett
- Courier Journal

"Honey From the Ribcage"

Barnes is "honey," homespun. This, the second LP he's recorded in his Louisville home studio, is a rich , folky
Americana tapestry more fleshed out than his debut, The Fallen Acrobat, featuring spiritualized, double-
tracked vocals, and, where it suits him, bits of tabla, banjo, keyboards, melodica, sitar, music box and
glockenspiel. But the focus remains him, his hushed vocals, and his acoustic guitar, full of real rumination.
Barnes has overcome some problems, and his material steadfastly delves in to his struggle with
prescription drugs ( "Red Prescription") and the scary memory loss they caused ( "Second Guess My Own"),
as well as the puritanism of this Christian Kentucky rearing. But the mood of the LP is aromatic, thanks to his
restrained touch on the guitar and his singing's expressing his wonder at the pastoral playpen he lives in.
Best lyric: "Idolatry is the lover's defect." And how. (www.silbermedia.com) - Jack Rabid
- The Big Take Over

"BabySue review Honey From the Ribcage"

Recorded in his home studio in Louisville, Kentucky, Honey From the Ribcage is an absorbing and effective collection of folk inspired soft pop tunes. Jamie Barnes is similar in many ways to Sufjan Stevens. His tunes are soft, personal, and reflective and his voice is subtle and subdued. For what is virtually a solo album (except for a couple of guest appearance by Will Cummings), Honey From the Ribcage is a surprisingly warm and genuine collection of tunes. Like Stevens, Barnes caresses his tunes in a nest of cool instruments including glockenspeil, melodica, sitar, tabla, ocarina, and more. Lyrics and melodies are the main focus of the album, however, and the songs are truly spectacular. In listening to this music, you almost get the feeling that you actually know this fellow. This is probably about as honest as music gets. Inspired cuts from start to finish. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5++)
- BabySue


The Recalibrated Heart - 2007 Sonablast
Honey From the Ribcage - 2005 Silber
Fallen Acrobat - 2003 Silber

Paper Crane - 2005 Sundays In Spring ( Belgium )



Currently a part of the Sonablast roster. Has released music on Silber Records and Sundays In Spring ( Belgium ). Shared the stage with big acts such as Over the Rhine, LoveDrug, Erin McKeown, Head Automatica, Half-Handed Cloud, Rivulets and Gregor Samsa.

As published in the All Music Guide:
Biography by Jason Lymangrover
Most of Jamie Barnes' laid-back indie folk is highly personal work that incorporates religious imagery, love notes, and internal struggles. With a strong aptitude for learning instruments by ear, he includes a wide variety of small household instruments like toy piano, xylophone, flute, tabla, and glockenspiel in his bedroom recordings, but generally builds his songs around his soothing voice and a lone acoustic guitar. Barnes picked up his first guitar at age 11, and began sharpening his skills in family jam sessions with his father, who had played in a band that opened for the Doors and the Beach Boys, and his big brother. At 15, Barnes began playing around Louisville, KY, with a few bands. Around the time he was 18, after being inspired by the imagery of Songs of Leonard Cohen and other emotionally provocative artists like Low, Tom Waits, and Gillian Welch, Barnes created a demo with the hopes of making music that was akin to a comforting dream. He shopped his homemade CD around to a handful of labels and then went off to play some shows with After the Panic. When he returned, he received a response from Brian John Mitchell at Silber.

Mitchell signed the fledgling artist, despite the fact that Barnes had a considerably different sound than most of the label's droning noise-rock bands, which include Origami Arktika, Clang Quartet, and Remora. In 2003, before Barnes was 20, Silber released his lo-fi debut album, The Fallen Acrobat, which he had recorded in his bedroom over the course of a year. In 2006, Barnes followed his debut with the more complex and rewarding Honey from the Ribcage. This release displayed a more orchestrated and personal approach to songwriting, with underlying tones of questioned spirituality and distress. "Second Guess My Own" illustrates how he lost several years from his life due to a memory loss, and "Red Prescription" is about his battle with the prescription drugs that caused that memory loss. Here, his lyrics often act as a diary tracking his fears and life-altering events, simultaneously drawing parallels to the biblical story of Samson. After this record, Barnes relocated to the Pink Bullet label; The Recalibrated Heart, a fuller album that continued to follow his spiritual journey into the intimate realms of self-produced bedroom recording, arrived in 2007. That album was later purchased by New York based label Sonablast Records, which is home to other acts such as Mark Geary, Kelley McRae and The Old Ceremony.