Team­ing up with MSquared has proven to be an in­spired choice for Casey Barnes, with his new up-tempo sound find­ing plenty of fans

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - SUZANNE SIMONOT

What do Gold Coast singer/ song­writer Casey Barnes and Kylie Minogue have in com­mon? They both found in­spi­ra­tion for their new records in Nashville – the hottest des­ti­na­tion on the planet for mu­si­cians and record­ing artists at the mo­ment.

Af­ter fi­nally land­ing a “dream-come-true” slot on the bill for the sold-out CMC Rocks Mu­sic Fes­ti­val at Ip­swich next week­end, Barnes is pumped for what’s shap­ing up as his big­gest year yet.

The 2018 Golden Gui­tar fi­nal­ist will play the re­branded Ground­wa­ter Coun­try Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in Broad­beach in July and is cur­rently on the road on a na­tional PBR Aus­tralia tour to show off his new al­bum, The Good Life, out to­mor­row.

The toe-tap­ping con­tem­po­rary coun­try col­lec­tion opens with Barnes’ coun­try chart-top­ping sin­gle The Way We Ride, a ra­dio favourite when it was re­leased last year.

“I was brought up on coun­try mu­sic,” the Tas­ma­nian-born singer and song­writer says.

“I grew up lis­ten­ing to a whole range of coun­try artists – from James Tay­lor to Keith Ur­ban.

“I guess I’ve al­ways been in­flu­enced by coun­try so it was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion – es­pe­cially when I made that first trip to Nashville and hit it off with Rick Price and we wrote to­gether for a cou­ple of years.”

Barnes at­tributes his stel­lar re­cent run to his de­ci­sion to part­ner with Mel­bourne song­writ­ers and pro­duc­ers/ man­agers MSquared – Michael Payn­ter and Michael Deloren­zis.

“Ever since that mo­ment ev­ery­thing has changed – the song­writ­ing, di­rec­tion, pro­duc­tion,” Barnes says.

“It’s all come about since I teamed up with them. All the stuff we’re bring­ing out with them is that high-en­ergy coun­try rock with a pro­duc­tion vibe sim­i­lar to Keith Ur­ban.

“I can un­der­stand why I wasn’t do­ing those fes­ti­vals (CMC Rocks) be­fore. There were too many mid-tempo songs in my set. There are 97 mil­lion acts bring­ing out that sort of stuff.”

Barnes, who en­joyed a huge 2017 that saw him ce­ment his sta­tus as a lead­ing coun­try mu­sic artist and per­form on the PBR Aus­tralia bull rid­ing tour, has hit the ground run­ning again this year, mak­ing the Golden Gui­tar fi­nals in Tam­worth in Jan­uary and en­joy­ing air­play with new sin­gle Ain’t Com­ing Home, re­leased last month be­fore head­ing back out on the road with PBR Aus­tralia again this month.

While he’s per­formed along­side ev­ery­one from Mariah Carey to Bryan Adams and re­leased nu­mer­ous al­bums and EPs in the past 15 years, Barnes is keen to put the past be­hind him.

He has “pulled” his back cat­a­logue from sale on his web­site, iTunes and stream­ing sites to avoid con­fus­ing his grow­ing fan­base.

“You can’t get my old stuff any­where any more,” he says.

Casey Barnes plays CMC Rocks, Ip­swich, from March 16-18, the Gold Coast’s Bleach* Fes­ti­val on March 31, Sir­romet Win­ery on May 6 and the Ground­wa­ter Coun­try Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in Broad­beach from July 27-29

Coun­try singer Casey Barnes’ new al­bum, The Good Life, is out to­mor­row.

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