The progressive bluegrass and Americana quartet Barbaro release their new EP, Under The Covers, to the world today.
Max Graham performs on the last song of the EP – Wilco’s, "Jesus, Etc.", a personal favorite of his mother. The poignant lyrics sung by Graham, exude powerful emotions for those who knew him. Max Graham was a cornerstone of the artist community in the Twin Cities, and Upper Midwest; encouraging collaboration amongst his friends and peers in many musical genres. A prolific singer-songwriter and musician himself – Max Graham would be proud of the EP and what it stands for today. Graham passed away in 2020, and Under The Covers is dedicated to Barbaro’s dear friend.
The first single track, "Dark Turn Of Mind," released on October 22, is a beautiful, musical guest-pairing with Siri Undlin of Humbird on vocals, and Adam Roszkiewicz of Front Country on mandolin. The Gillian Welch song provides a compositional space conducive to Barbaro’s sound. Barbaro knew that Siri Undlin’s powerful vocals would produce a moving and original take on this song. Giving back in the form of music benefitting Our Saviour’s Community Services of Minneapolis helps complete the full circle, to those in need. Humbird was pleased to lend a hand and be part of Barbaro’s Under The Covers.
The Current 89.3FM, debuted the first single track, "Dark Turn Of Mind," with host Mike Pengra featuring it on the Radio Heartland programming.
Minneapolis Star Tribune featured Barbaro as a “Minnesota band freshening up the bluegrass scene," and the new EP as a charity project to help Minneapolis recover from the chaos of 2020. All proceeds from it go to Our Saviour's Community Services of Minneapolis. Said Shelstad, ‘It was important for us for it to be a charity doing very tangible, hands-on work in the community.’”
This is a special project for Barbaro, as Our Saviour’s Community Services in Minneapolis is a local organization close their hearts. With so many social challenges and inequities coming to a head in the summer of 2020, Barbaro found it important to give back to their own community.
“With the desire to recognize and support the tangible and impactful work that Our Saviour’s Community Services does in our own backyards, we felt strongly about dedicating the new Under The Covers EP as an opportunity to support this organization. We learned what it means to be good neighbors this year”, say Barbaro.
Our Saviour’s Community Services is a secular nonprofit in South Minneapolis that operates two programs:
The English Learning Center and Our Saviour’s Housing. Welcoming students from many educational backgrounds, the English Learning Center offers free, culturally sensitive English education and citizenship preparation to adult learners. Our Saviour’s Housing offers person-centered, low-barrier supportive housing services and emergency shelter; it is a place where people can expect to find hope, community, and dignified services.
Bridget Schumann, Grants Specialist at Our Saviour’s Community Services, states, “We are delighted to be partnering with Barbaro! While we often partner with other organizations, donors, and foundations in the community to do our important work – we rarely have the opportunity to work with artists. During what has been a difficult year for so many of us, we especially appreciate the chance to come together and enjoy the restoring and healing power of music. Many thanks to Barbaro for lifting up the work of Our Saviour's Community Services.”
Our Saviour’s Community Services has been deeply impacted by the pandemic and had to adapt quickly to continue providing essential services to the community. The school fully transitioned to virtual learning. While limited in-person classes have resumed this fall, Our Saviour's will continue to offer the online program, as this made learning more accessible for some students. Our Saviour’s started providing supplemental food support to students in the aftermath of the summer of 2020, when many stores in the neighborhood were closed in Minneapolis. Throughout all of this, Our Saviour’s relied heavily on community support to help get them through a very difficult time.
Under The Covers EP was recorded at RiverRock Studios.
Engineered and mixed by Kevin Israel. Mastered by Tom Garneau.
2020 marked the release of Barbaro’s debut album, Dressed In Roses, produced by Adam Greuel. Recorded at Wild Sound Studios in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the songs of Dressed In Roses showcase Barbaro’s spirit of fearless exploration through layered musical textures that continually reimagine the Americana, and bluegrass experience.
The Minneapolis-Winona based rising stars have created their eclectic sound through original songwriting, with inspiration derived from classical, jazz, and bluegrass music. Barbaro’s musical vision explores their collective life experiences through intricate instrumentation, creatively bending traditional roots music into a style that is all their own.
Barbaro quartet members are Kyle Shelstad, (vocals and guitar), Rachel Calvert, (vocals and fiddle), Isaac Sammis, (banjo), and Jason Wells, (vocals and bass).
In 2018, Barbaro released their first EP as well as claiming two awards: the John Hartford Memorial Festival Band Contest and the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association’s Americana-Roots Band Contest.
Barbaro was selected as an Official Showcase Artist for Folk Alliance International 2020, AmericanaFest 2021, and IBMA World of Bluegrass in 2020 and 2021. With Barbaro being highlighted as one the Top 10 Artists to see at IBMA World of Bluegrass this year.
No Depression highlighted Barbaro’s new EP, Under The Covers, on their Now Hear This list of new releases for November 12, 2021.
Adventures In Americana writes, “The idiosyncratic song choices give Under The Covers the feeling of a great night of karaoke – if instead of a tinny synthesized backing track you had some of the best bluegrass musicians in the Midwest playing live and a bar packed with talented professional singers coming up to perform every song. It brings to mind the recent covers-for-a-cause album, Blue, by Jason Isbell.
“Barbaro brighten the Midwest bluegrass scene.” – The Bluegrass Situation
“Barbaro budge beyond the bounds of bluegrass.” – The Current, Minnesota Public Radio
“Barbaro provides a bountiful bouquet and a remarkably rich one at that. Make no mistake – it’s just that good.” – Bluegrass Today