Hometown hero Casey Barnes is an artist on a serious roll right now, having just been nominated for his first ever ARIA Award! He’s in the running for Country Music Album Of The Year for his current release, ‘Town Of A Million Dreams’. Says Casey on finding out the big news; “I still honestly can’t believe it. I’ve been watching the ARIA’s since I was a kid, thinking how awesome it’d be to be nominated one day. I’m just over the moon!”
And if that wasn’t enough, this week he also signed a deal with Michael Gudinski and Mushroom Publishing (in addition to also working with Michael Chugg and Chugg Music). Read on for more on the album and all things Casey off the back of our recent chat with him..
It’s fair to say that despite all of the stresses and challenges of a COVID-afflicted world, 2020 has been a year of tremendous growth and ever-burgeoning success for hometown country music hero Casey Barnes.
April saw him release a new album, the critically acclaimed 10 song opus, ‘Town Of A Million Dreams’, consolidating his rapid growth trajectory over the previous two years, which included highlights such as multiple stadium shows throughout the USA.
His new album has also smashed it out of the park on a commercial level, catapulting him to the top of music charts across the country. The album’s first two singles, ‘Sparks Fly’ and ‘We’re Good Together’, held down the number one spot on the singles charts for seven weeks and five weeks respectively. The album also dominated, rising to the top of both ARIA and iTunes charts across all genres, while as an artist he continues to gain an ever-growing legion of Spotify listeners and streams. And to top things off, Casey took out the coveted ‘Artist of the Year’ award at the recent Gold Coast Music Awards.
25 September saw Casey release the third single and video clip from the album, with the track ‘Bright Lights’. It’s yet another belter from a seemingly endless production line of ‘tailor made for radio’ singles. Chatting recently with Casey, I put it to him as to whether it’s tough narrowing down which songs end up as singles, or whether they pretty much pick themselves.
“That’s a great question… a lot of times singles pick themselves – as we’ve found with (latest single) ‘Bright Lights’, which has become a real favourite with fans since the album dropped in April,” he says.
“This track came together after one of many trips across to Nashville last year. The song touches on a lot of the amazing experiences I had over there, while at the same time experiencing the feelings of missing the ones you love back at home. Musically it seemed to write itself, as I already had the idea behind the song, it was just a matter of getting into the studio to add the finishing touches.”
Watch ‘Bright Lights’ below:
In addition to his chart successes, Casey’s renowned ‘leave nothing in the tank’ live performances have further cemented his status within the hearts and minds of music lovers. Casey’s love of getting out there and belting it out in front of a crowd has made the current COVID enforced dearth of live performance opportunities one of the tougher aspects of the year that is, but there a little bit of live salvation on the horizon, he says.
“I’ve gotta say that not being able to play live in 2020 has been one of my biggest challenges. I love writing and love being in the studio, but playing live is by far my favourite part of the whole process, so we’re busting to get back out there and play some regional Queensland dates! The good news is we’ve just added a few more North Queensland shows to the upcoming tour, so the more restrictions are easing the better it’s shaping up!”
While on the topic of live music, when we ask Casey about his favourite home town gig highlight, one particular epic performance from last year sprung to the fore.
“There have definitely been many home town highlights, but I think last year’s Groundwater Music Festival was definitely up there. It doesn’t get much better than getting to play the main stage, with people as far as you can see along Surf Parade singing the words back to your songs! To top it off we were voted the ‘People’s Choice’ best live act of the festival, which meant a lot … especially in your home town.”
While on a home town note, as well as being one of the most successful performers in Australian country / roots-rock music circles, Casey is also one of the most respected and cherished ambassadors of the Gold Coast music scene as a whole, a role he relishes.
“It means a great deal to me,” he tells us.
We’ve got so much to be proud of here on the Gold Coast and our music scene is fast becoming one of the best in the country.
“Once upon a time, artists used to think they’d have to move to places like Sydney or Melbourne to make it, but those days are long gone. We’ve got so many different music genres represented here that are now being recognised on not just a national but an international level, which is brilliant!”
Musically speaking, while ostensibly aligning with the ‘country music’ genre, Casey’s output somewhat transcends such a narrow definition, also appealing to those who may typically gravitate more towards the rock and pop spectrums. Which Casey thinks may be explained by his broad ranging influences.
“I’ve always loved country music, but I grew up listening to a really broad range of genres – probably thanks to my parent’s record collection ha! I listened to everything from James Taylor, The Eagles, Elton John, Gerry Rafferty, The Beatles, you name it. Then my own record/CD collection was quite varied too.
“I guess that explains where I sit musically these days and what’s influenced my song writing. I sort of fit into the new/modern country end of the scale which I guess is similar to artists like Keith Urban and more recently Morgan Evans, who have had the ability to cross over in both country and mainstream radio. We love to put on an entertaining/high energy show, so that’s also had a lot to do with the type of stuff I’ve put out over the last few years in particular.”
Our lad Casey is clearly not a one trick pony, which is further revealed upon asking him if there was an artist or style of music that he enjoys that may come as a surprise to his fans!
“Ha, I think my fans would get an interesting surprise if they delved into my Spotify playlist – there’s honestly a bit of everything in there! Probably my biggest surprise musical find of 2020 actually came off the back of one of my favourite Netflix series, ‘Schitts Creek’. One of the actors, Noah Reid, released an album which is absolutely brilliant – I’d highly recommend anyone to check it out!”
Home grown hero Casey Barnes is about to get back in the saddle and do what he does best and loves most, playing live for the people. A swag of Queensland dates have been announced, including a pair of Gold Coast shows (one is already sold out), at Mo’s Desert Clubhouse, on Friday 16 October.
For the full list of upcoming shows, head to Casey’s website. IMAGE (C) Troy Jegers.