The Celtic Music Fan

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The Music Man

The Music Man: I have featured interviews about Irish artists touring the United States

 The Music Man : This time it is the other way around. This interview focuses on Max T Barnes who is a million-selling  American artist and his tour of Ireland which is happening very soon.

It is great to get fresh perspective from a mind that has seen it all. But Max T Barnes does not carry the attitude of “ been there done that.” In fact he continues to thrive in the music world with a sense of humility underneath the wisdom. He shares them all unconditionally. And he is one fascinating artist that many can learn from.

1. After many hits in America, and having more than 20 million records sold worldwide, do you ever feel nervous or excited about this upcoming tour of Ireland?

MTB: That is a great question. We are coming to have fun with the folks and make friends. Of course I am a little jittery about this tour – “Will they like me” etc. But I am coming over with a great partner in Craig Curtis who is a great singer and showman and that gives me some peace. We all are striving I guess for what we have yet to achieve. That is the human condition I reckon.

2. You wrote songs for major labels like Warner Brothers, Sony, Curb, Polygram and MCA. What have you discovered so far? How competitive is the music environment?

MTB: I would say it is dog eat dog but that would be an insult to dogs just kidding.  No at the level which you are consistently having hits, it is very fun and rewarding but in your mind it can be very tense. Imagine you have to write a song a day. now imagine it has to be a great song a couple times a week. Now imagine your songs have to beat the biggest names in country music to get a #1 -consistently – it is heady stuff. I have learned humility.  Having said all that, I really don’t understand it fully  — I think God must have given me this gift and I hold on to my faith in God.

3. You will be joined on stage by Craig Curtis, with Paul Hollowell. How do you feel performing with these talented artists?

MTB:Paul is my best buddy and we talk every morning but he will be on tour with Dolly so he can’t come this time

I know they are playing Dublin and Belfast on their world tour “Blue Smoke” which I think is sold out.

Craig Curtis has a Randy Travis like voice and I have a Vince Gill/Colin Raye Type voice so it’s a good blend. Craig is a very funny guy and we have a big big time on stage. Where appropriate, we have a beer on stage and ask the audience to join in our drinking game   We have a good time and I tell stories about these hits we sing – behind the scenes stories no one has heard. He and I write all his stuff together so it is very comfortable – Vey fun!

4. What’s the reason behind your decision to launch a music tour in Ireland?

MTB It is complicated- another story,  but I love traditional country music and from what I understand the Irish do to. That’s why.

5. What will your Irish fans expect to hear from you?

MTB My  big hits and my dad’s 24 hits. These are very well known songs    ”Love me” by Collin Raye – “Who’s gonna fill their shoe”s by George Jones “Look at Us” by Vince Gill and so many more   so fans will recognize them but the cool thing are the stories about the back scene in the biz.   With the exception of Craig’s new stuff, We sing nothing but hits.

6. What are the places you wish to visit when you are there?

MTB I took my wife Robin some years ago for a 10 day vacation there so I have seen the tourist stuff. (it was amazing!!)

But this time, I could think of nothing better than to see the inside of someone’s home because we got an invite because we made a new friend

7. What’s the pivotal point in your upbringing that made you decide you want to be in music?

MTB  True story— I was 17 at a movie by myself because a girlfriend broke up– and I remember thinking what do I want to be?

and the answer was —be in music (play guitar) and I realized that I needed to practice!!! so I got up and left in the middle of the movie, went home and practiced!!!    Still practicing 

8. Can you tell us a bit about your record collection these days? What tunes are you listening to?

MTB I don’t really have a collection. I have maybe 7 or 8 hundred cd’s from artist’s my dad or I have cuts on —  or friends cuts — or my artist friends.

I am typical of songwriters though- in that I rarely listen to music on purpose . I was cleaning out the barn the other day and my wife asked me why did I not have the radio on? I told her because I like the records in my head better – I really do hear music in my head and I sing along – But my mental jukebox is eclectic!   Coldplay, Bad Co. Hank Jr. Randy Travis (a lot of Randy lately)  And I love to sing in John Anderson’s voice!!

John Anderson was over to my house just yesterday recording!! Oh my gosh I love his voice!!!

Thanks for you time Max .     MTB  Thanks buddy

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