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What was your first gig?
First job was playing for the Dixie Echoes, a Gospel quartet from Florida. I was 16.
Tell us about what instruments that you play and how you learned?
Piano. I started playing by ear at age 8 after learning 3 chords and praying that God would give me the gift of music. I also play enough bass, acoustic and drums to be dangerous.
Do you have a favorite kind of piano/ keyboard to play?
I love Yamaha pianos, they are the most consistently perfect pianos, but when I find a really GOOD Baldwin, that is probably next to the very best. The all-time best is a piano that isn’t made anymore: the Mason Hamlin BB. Best piano ever built!! On the road I use a Roland RD700-GX. It has great organ, keys, piano and pad sounds and is set up really well for live performance. It has excellent weight on the keys and realistic feel. I’ve had mine for several years and will probably stick with Roland’s replacement when it comes time to do so. (Unless someone is looking for a lucrative endorsement, and perhaps I’ll sway).
When you are not on tour, what is your favorite thing to do?
“On the Road” is my natural habitat. I do however, spend a lot of time pretending to be a farmer: running a tractor and such. But I also do studio work when we’re not traveling. I’m almost always “working”.
So, would you call your farming efforts more of a hobby?
Yes, I have had a good ole fashioned garden most years.
We must know... BEST road story?
When Randy Miller and I were both with the Kingsmen (probably 1998) we sang at the Queen’s Way Cathedral in Toronto. It was really cold, and we were to take showers at the church. There was no hot water. And Randy, being an all-around Mr. Fix it, found a room with a dozen water controls (many were labeled in French). He dialed on them till we got hot water. However, while we were on stage the baptistery (at what was then the largest church in Canada) began to overflow. I don’t think Randy ever confessed to his plumbing work.
Favorite Kolt story?
I’m blown away by Kolt as a writer and singer, and then I found out he’s an inventor. I was floored to find out he created the machine that we see at all the Agrisoma concerts in the display area. It takes Carinata seeds and makes oil in a matter of seconds while you watch.
TOP 8 THIS OR THAT
Eat out or homemade?
Vinyl’s or mp3’s?
I love the idea of vinyl and have many, but realistically, MP3
Dress up or shorts and a tshirt?
Jeans, at least
Sports car or minivan?
Beach or mountains?
Mountains (but we usually go to the beach)
R&R or full throttle ahead?
Hustle and bustle or tranquility?
Bluegrass or jazz?
Tell us about your musical journey…
At eight years of age, my mother kindly showed me how to play “ The Wildwood Flower” and I haven’t stopped loving music since.
What is life like off the road?
I am a career musician currently in Nashville, TN. I make my living recording/ playing live performances with Kolt, writing songs and producing projects.
What is your most heart touching moment on the road?
Meeting, knowing, and working with Johnny Cash and Mother Maybelle Carter, June’s mother.
Mother Maybelle Carter wrote the first song I learned to play, “The Wildwood Flower”!
Can you tell us who you've played for in the studio, on tour, etc...
When I first came to Nashville, I set out to complete what began even before the guitars… I believe I have a calling on my life for music. My mom swore that I would dance in her belly
when my Dad practiced with fellow musicians in our living room.
I remember the early "Twang Town times” with Dottie Rambo, The Oak Ridge Boys, and many others, like The Elvis Presley Show, Jerry Garcia Band, Tanya Tucker, really so many others.
But I gotta say, I am blessed to be pickin’ now with Kolt Barber, one of the finest in the business, the REAL DEAL!
John L. Rich Sr., my dad and friend, allowed me to be in his band, The Country Playboys. The pedal steel became my passion and guess what? Twang…I fell in love! Listening to WSM is where I wanted to be, playing all the classics with Dad, being groomed to go in his stead.
What is your inspiration?
The Word Of God.
What is the best part about being out on tour with Kolt?
Every day is an awesome opportunity to experience peace and joy with KOLT & THE BOYS. It is hilarious to say the least! Many great moments!!
Do you have a favorite hobby?
My very favorite…You guessed it, MUSIC!
Can you tell us about your family life?
I am blessed with my family, including a pretty girlfriend who I have known quite a few years.
TOP 8 THIS OR THAT
Hot or cold drink?
Old school or modern?
Frivolous or frugal?
Jeans and a t-shirt or black tie?
Jeans and T shirt
Sunshine or moonlight?
Picnic in the park or night on the town?
Night on the town
Fly by the seat of your pants or structure?
Flying by the seat of my structured pants. LOL (ok... that was funny!)
Sleep or go.go.go?
GoGoGo with naps!
You have such a rich heritage in music, tell us about it…
Started at age 5 as a clown on my grandparents’ TV show. It was The Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright Family Show. It featured our family which included my mother, Sue Sturdivant, their youngest daughter. From there, I started touring with them on the road. I would tell jokes or sing a song. PawPaw always encouraged us to be a part. I was fortunate enough to be born into the music industry. My farther was a musician and played with Charlie McCoy, Wayne Moss, and Kenneth Buttrey. They went on to become Area Code 615, Barefoot Jerry, and record with Bob Dylan. Dad worked with Record World, Tree Publising, ASCAP, Music City News, and Gibson Guitars. He was the first to teach me about live sound and recording on “2 track”. So, at a young age I was setting up the P.A. and playing parties with my friends who played. I mostly played guitar at that point, and I was headed to Belmont. Two weeks before I graduated high school, PawPaw brought his flat top in the music room and had me play drums while he sang. He asked if I wanted to be their drummer and... well… you know what I said (laughs around the room!) Needless to say, Dad was not thrilled. But it worked out, later I went to Belmont but as a drummer! Never intended to be a drummer but wound up playing sessions in town and touring.
What is in your CD player or queued up on your iPod right now?
Fleetwood Mac, the Beatles, Steely Dan, Merle Haggard, Johnnie and Jack, Buck Owens, Gram Parsons, Red, Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones, Atlanta Rhythm Section, and of course Kolt Barber…
You are a well versed, multi-talented guy… you have a studio, you tour manage and manage sound for Kolt… but you’re also a very talented musician and writer… tell us about your journey.
I have just followed the music and let God lead me. I have been BLESSED with the talents that I have and have tried my best to use them the way He wants me to use them.
What is your favorite thing to do, and why?
I LOVE creating music! I LOVE being a part of what I like to call a musical experience. Music truly can sooth the soul and take people on a journey away from the troubles. Great entertainers and song writers can take you somewhere emotionally.
Favorite road story?
We don’t have time or maybe should say I plead the 5th… So many… (Again, laughter around the room!)
Do you have a favorite Kolt story?
--- I will say this, this cat is an original and dedicated to his music and that’s what I love about him. I may be old school but this man and his band don’t care who or how many, it’s ON!!!!
What drives you?
The Good Lord, Lisa, J III, Elijah, my mother, and great friends….
TOP 8 THIS OR THAT
Watch the movie or read the book?
Studio or stage?
Chocolate or vanilla?
Fishing at the river or lying on the beach?
Go to the gym or go to the coffee shop?
Love coffee but exercise is important...
Listen or talk?
Middle of the city or off the grid?
OFF THE GRID
Appetizer or dessert?
Casey, you have an interesting musical journey, considering your primary responsibility with Kolt is playing bass, tell us about it...
Actually, this is the first job playing bass I have had in 30 years!!! Typically, I have played lead guitar or piano in most groups which I have been a part. But, I AM LOVING IT! Joe (our drummer) and I played in a band together called “Cross Country”, that is where I did most of my “road” work. Back in the 90’s/ early 2000’s, I played with Chalee Tennison. I have played with Cajun accordion player Jo-El Sonnier, and 70s country singer Johnny Duncan. So, obviously, I play whatever kind of music and/or instrument needed!
Tell us about the most heart touching moment that you have experienced on the road?
Cross country was a traveling music ministry. We took the gospel into mainstream America and fairs, festivals, NASCAR races, rodeos (you name it). Seeing people give their lives to Christ is the most precious moment(s) I have experienced!
What is your inspiration?
Musically, probably Brad Paisley. I love his writing and playing. In life, aside from God, it is without a doubt my wife Jenny. Although she has had 1000s of reasons to leave or give up on me, she never has. She is my rock!
Tell us more about your family life.
Like I said, I am married to my saint Jenny. We have three daughters and two sons-in-law. Amelia and Chris Guenther, Hannah and CJ Barrow and Abby Jo is my youngest. I have been SUPER blessed.
Alright, give us your take on Kolt?
This one is hard. I will say that what I love about him is that he is a very humble man. He always makes it about the band. He doesn’t do his own thing on the road. Definitely a TEAM player! Also, he happens to have the biggest heart I have ever seen. (Not to mention that big friendly smile that lights up a room when he walks in.)
Do you have other passions besides music?
I do some catering, so cooking is a big passion. Also, I absolutely love to go hiking.
TOP 8 THIS OR THAT
Waylon or Willie?
Waylon all the way!
Outdoors or indoors?
Outdoors!! Love me some nature.
4 string or 5 string?
5. I love the bigger range. Gonna have to try a six string one day.
Paper or electronic?
As hard as I try to hang onto paper, it’s getting more difficult. My kids are leaving me behind!!! (laughs around the room!)
Large box retailer or local market?
Wherever I can get the best purchase. Do love those small country stores though.
Warm weather or cold weather?
Cold. Not snow and 2 degrees but cold over hot.
4 star cuisine or order a pizza?
Pizza. Nothing fancy in my end.
Over achiever or ‘work till we have enough’?
Depends on the situation. Probably more of an overachiever I guess. And I don’t mind working at all, just don’t stand around and watch if you ain’t gonna help!!! (laughs around the room!)