Get Myself Together
Although the DIY musician auteur aesthetic has become increasingly prevalent thanks to advancements in recording technology, in practice it’s been used most frequently in the confines of indie rock. Danny Barnes’s country/bluegrass-steeped Get Myself Together is quite a far cry from Sufjan Stevens or Jens Lekman’s pop orchestras, but Barnes does have dated ties to the alt. country community thanks largely to his turn in the Texas outfit Bad Livers. While there’s a tendency for musicians in this position, particularly Stevens, to pile obscene levels of instrumentation onto the mix, Barnes takes the opposite approach, tracking two or three instruments per song. Such a minimalist take on his own compositions and the selection of covers, for the most part, solidifies the lonely and mournful overtones inherent in the music. The only true misstep, a jaunty playful version of The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy For the Devil,” feels dead in the water. Elsewhere, Barnes’s subtle bends and twists to traditional americana convention come across well. The rhythmic oomph of tuba on the title track, his four-part/one-person harmonies on “Let Your Light Shine on Me,” the jazzy detritus-littered verses of “Get It On Down the Line” and the circular, aged and crackling riffs of Bill Frisell’s “Big Shoe” are all nice moments of post-modern self-awareness usually absent from a genre prone to taking itself much too seriously.