How are you?

I’m sincerely looking to the fall for renewed energy and some kind of turning of the corner. My guru (not officially) Tania just told me I have reason to believe that’s coming. My mother raised me to be a fighter! She also raised me to make nice and always put others before myself, something I’ve decided isn’t always the healthiest way to go. I think The Chicks would agree. By the way, were you fortunate enough to see them on tour this past season, and did you see my friend Keith Sewell rocking it in their band?

Anyhow…I hope you too are planning new ways to embrace change, love emphatically and without boundaries. My new favorite phrase is “we have a nuanced relationship.”

I invite you to join us at the iconic Bitter End on Nov 13th for a night of music to raise funds for the Campus Vote Project. Young people coming in to their voting power! Lots of friends and surprises!

Mark your holiday calendars as well for our now annual alt-Cole Porter show at the beloved City Winery NYC on Dec 17th. My friend Steve Conte has signed on to sing with us. More invited guests to come!

And please take a look at our new Music Shop on this site. Finally! By mid October I’ll have Under My Skin: Reimagining Cole Porter album as well as a new JB album of compositions, which I’ve cheekily entitled but longing is primal. You do a great service when you lean in to the gesture of supporting art through commerce, and we thank you.

The world has been, and continues to be, in a sort of conflagration, if you ask me. But we push back, we must. Let’s keep striving, my friends.

Greetings from the heat-and-thunderstorm-beleagured planet. I’ve taken on two heavy-duty books: “The Myth of Normal” and the old standby “The Body Keeps The Score.” Just a little light reading for the summer! Why bring this up on the music news page? Well, hell, it’s fodder for all sorts of brand new raging OR healing AND certainly a bunch of new songs. Let’s all read and write together this intense summer of ’23. An unexamined life ain’t worth living. That Socrates fella knew a few things.

Jeez, what an extraordinary afternoon we had at City Winery on Jun 11th! I can honestly say it was among the top 5 shows of, well, my whole career. For real. Finally had the perfectly harmonious personnel on stage, all in flow together and having a great time. And the audience – you guys were extraordinary. We forgot it was summertime and we might not get the sold-out status we’re used to on this show, but the mighty group who did come were hollering in that good juju way, the minute we walked on stage. The CW staff, who had 100 kid rockers downstairs at some kid thing, were so good to us, and we got the head honcho sound fella doing the best sound I’ve ever had at the joint. We captured it all with a video team – working on the post production now. Let me please just say a very grateful thank you to all y’all who came and made for a magnificent and memorable fellowship.

We’re in the midst of setting up the new store on this site, offering the ready to go Under My Skin: Reimagining Cole Porter album, on CD or as a download, as well as my  2016 release You See This River.  By September I hope to have all the new JB songs from the pandemic years released and on the site for purchase as well, and for listening of all releases on Spotify. As always, we art-makers always encourage you to support through purchasing music for your home listening. See more on this site about the Cole Porter project and view videos from past shows.  I could not be more proud of this project, and the very special all-star musicians who’ve given their talents to my arrangements of the great Mr. Porter’s catalogue. I want you all to have these songs in your homes, your cars, your ear buds.

Taking the summer to dig in to some writing, solo as well as with extraordinary writing partners. Very VERY excited about the writing life and looking forward to sending some of those tracks out to opportunities.

Gearing up for the Fall 23 and 2024 season of probable fundraiser shows towards groups around the country fighting voter suppression, supporting young voter registration, and building grass roots political engagement. Look for fun solo and group shows to come. Let’s get engaged, my friends!

For listening, and watching, check out all the music that’s been featured on this site, on my Youtube channel, and on Spotify. case you need reminding…The Cole Porter project! The maestro’s songbook wrapped in the loving arms of fiddle, mando, my old Gibson, classic upright piano, and the lusting and longing of that dobro. ONE MORE duet partner to secure and this thing is done. We let a small number of cuts out of the protective vault, as well as a few JB tracks that will be on that next album, so wander over to Spotify and check them out, and yup, click to be a monthly listener/follower. Go to the Cole Porter page on this site to read more about the project.

It’s a privilege to have this life, and the life I have mentoring rising songwriters at Berklee College of Music. I’m grateful for this time in my life, even as I struggle like all of us, to make sense of the chaos we see and sometimes directly experience.I will continue to look for ways to channel musical endeavors into causes that need support.If you are not on the mailing list and would like to be kept in the loop, do sign up on this site. If I become annoying, you can always unsubscribe lol!

We hold our collective breath, metaphorically, for the times they are a-changing. Get thee to your vaccine center if you are due for your next shot! And let us open our hearts to the world that continues to right its ship. Patience, like never before. Let us proceed with hope, with patience, with love and gratitude for what we have, what we may have, and what we may yet achieve, never forgetting the many thousands we have lost, and the challenging work ahead to reach across divides, face our historic faults and fears and rise up in brave new ways. Head stays clear.  Heart stays open. Driven by love, not fear.

Greetings from Brooklyn, y’all. I’ve got Voter registration/suppression on my mind.But first, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to all you fabulous folks who joined us at City Winery on June 11th, to celebrate the release of Under My Skin: Reimagining Cole Porter. It was one of the best musical experiences of my career, I kid you not. Even understated uber talent Ben Stivers said: “I’m very proud of what we did today.”

Looking forward to planning some fundraising shows in the fall and beyond towards groups doing great work on the ground to register new young voters, to protect the rights of existing voters and help folks navigate the system. Never too early to start brainstorming how to put our talents to work.

This summer seems like a thoughtful time, for those of us who have that luxury. I’m writing lots and I hope you are too, in your heads, through your conversations or good works. Changing thoughtful times. Blessings along the way, I hope. JB

I just want to wish you a good almost Spring. Let’s hang in there and find ways to leave our houses and commune with each other. Cuz we need it more than ever. I wanted to mention my experience at the Universalist Unitarian Church at Shelter Rock this past weekend. The house band, including some of my oldest friends, are something very special. But specifically I want to mention the beautiful community and the ministry of this and all Unitarian churches. It was a pleasure to meet this month’s minister and hear his testimony on the ongoing efforts in support of LGBTQ rights, and the rights of all of us who hear the call to live life authentically, whatever that means to each of us.

I’m still working on all of that.

I send you good will and good wishes for a joyful march towards the sunshine. JB

Are we ready for a new year? I know I am. There’s been a lot of joy this year as it feels perhaps we’ve turned a corner on handling the pandemic. And yet we are not quite right in this world, wrestling with what it feels like to NOT be tucked away at home all the time. For many of us there was a weird pleasure in hibernation. I miss a few of the things I was able to do, and the people I hibernated with. But let’s all agree we are searching for new ways to be in the world and reach out for connection.

I’m listening to my favorite singer-songwriters and discovering new ones – new to me. During 2021 I listened, at my friend Eugene Ruffolo’s suggestion, on repeat to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “The Dirt and the Stars.” I couldn’t stop. A very brave collection of lyrics. Now I have listened maybe 500 times to Rose Cousins’ “Natural Conclusion” album. It’s not new, but new to me. She wrote “…stabbed in the back with my own knife….” Ok, right. Let’s pay attention to this one.

I’m very excited to bring the gang back to City Winery a week before Christmas for more Cole Porter, and I’m mixing in some Django Reinhardt (gonna sing that one in French), some Carter Family. Why? All part of the stars alligning in the 40s to produce some truly wondrous moments of music. Cole wrote Kiss Me Kate in that decade. 30 years later I learned my first Carter Family song, my first Cole song, and heard my first gypsy jazz at the American Folklife Festival.

What is your heritage, your origin story? Tell it to yourself, and remind yourself that you have something to tell, something to know of yourself, and to re-imagine.

See you out there. Write me anytime. JB

Trusting in the renewal of fall, folks. I hope you’re catching a wave of energy and hope for liasons that lift us and endeavors that feed our souls. The early spring gave my little creative troupe a boost when we brought the Cole Porter Re-imagined project to City Winery NYC. It was our first time in the “new” CWNYC and the room is just beautiful. So were you. The show was sold out and there was, to draw upon the cliche, magic in the room. I’m so grateful to all of you for sharing that day with us, and for my band and special guests, Steve Conte, Nicki Richards, Eugene Ruffolo, and James Maddock.

We’ll start the fall with a group show at the Cutting Room NYC, an intimate format for singers and songwriters. We’ll relish the opportunity to play with each other and see all of you in our NYC family, while raising funds for groups around the country who are working on the ground to defend our voting rights, register new voters and preserve our liberties.

I’ll finish the fall in December back at City Winery with the Cole project. I’ve just started creating the album package for that project and talking to folks who could help us bring the songs to venues around the country.

In every season of our lives we ride the waves up and down and sideways. In the past few years there has been an awful lot of sideways, personally and globally. I don’t know about you, but me, I talk to myself out loud a fair amount these days. Little encouragements, little bit of cussing, little bit of incredulousness. “Really..?” “Are you serious…?” Yup. We can’t control everything, or anyone. But we keep striving; it seems my message to myself never changes. Just keep trying. And with all of our ambitions, our love of our endeavors, it turns out JT was right – everyone knows that love is the only road.

So let us keep our heads on straight, and our hearts stay open. See you out there. JB

We’re halfway through winter, apparently. Angie says so. So that’s good news. And the Omicron numbers are heading down, so that’s good news. I’m reminding myself of a few good thoughts I had back in 2017. Looking for quality experiences. Don’t need to mourn history, don’t need to regret anything or push back on the truth. Just time to create quality experiences. And, as that piece of paper on my studio wall reads: Do not be driven by fear; only love.

That goes for knuckleheads that have made mistakes right in front of you, sometimes in regards to you. There cannot be villains in this story, only sad turns, that can turn into better insights.

Recently someone took very good care of me when I needed help. Another friend said, ok, remember that and manifest only that kind of immeasurable goodness and love. I got kind of fed up with “manifestations” a while back, but then there was that piece of paper on my studio wall.

Ok ok.

So believe it or not, all this lead to booking a livestream show at Euphoria Studios here in NYC.March 3rd, 7pm, on my FB page. I’ll be making some sounds with my pals Larry Saltzman, Ben Stivers, and Richard Hammond. I hope you’ll bring your favorite beverage and snack and join us. Fairy lights including. Requests welcome.

Please take good care of yourselves. A nice cuppa, something sweet.

Obviously, I started putting our news on the front page of this site, but I’ve recently wandered over here and it was quite fun to read the news from the past. So to that end….

There’s been many shows, and many recording sessions, and many gigs cancelled due to the giant worldwide catastrophe called Covid-19. And we’re still in it. But live shows are happening, and our shows are joyous, for folks who’ve gotten their vaccines!

The re-imagining of Cole Porter has been an incredible thrill – I created my wish-list of players, some I knew personally but many I simply admired. And most of them said yes! I think they were intrigued by this adventure and surely were delighted to collaborate with each other!

We’re gearing up for our show at City Winery Loft on Jan 23rd. Special guest duet partners, and extraordinary musicians. And a bit of a showcase, as we look for a label home for this project. In the meantime there are videos and tracks from the upcoming release, right here on the site. Enjoy. Write me! Share with folks. Wander over to Spotify and become a follower/listener.

As I secured the recording commitments from these world-class players, I often said to these folks, “hey, how about playing on one of my tunes as well.” Cuz that album coming too. And they did. Some tracks being shared on this site and on Spotify as well. Please share!

I send you all my hopes and prayers for a soulful, healthy, gratifying 2022, and I’ll hope to see you out there on the road, in the cafe, conversing with humanity as we well should. JB

It’s been great conversing with so many of you over the emails.  Thank you so much for reaching out.  Both albums are coming along nicely, and to that end, I went to Nashville recently and recorded the one and only Jerry Douglas on two songs, “Jetty” and what has been called “When The Snow Comes” but which Jerry and Carmella insisted should really be called “We Ain’t Dead Yet.”  And we ain’t, right, kids?

On April 25th I’ll participate in the remarkable Monica Passim’s Harmony Swap Musicals Edition at the Treehouse.  I’ll take a crack at “So In Love.” The recorded version is almost done, featuring Ben Stivers(piano), Richard Hammond(upright), Gary Schreiner (accordion)  and Larry Saltzman(mandolin). There will be a monumental number of beautiful singers and songs on this Treehouse evening.  Bring your lawn chair and settle in for theatrical bliss.

We are very excited about the festival coming up at the Schimmel Center on May 10th and 11th: The first annual Crossing Bridges Music Fest, curated by extraordinary artist/producer Paul Guzzone.  Our set will be on Friday night the 10th, along with Vance Gilbert, The Kennedys, and Jonathan Coulton.  On Saturday at noon I’ll participate in a songwriters in the round, hosted by WFUV’s John Platt, along with Abbie Gardner, the Kennedys, and Dom Flemons.  Saturday night May 11th, please don’t miss Dom Flemons, Adam Ezra Group, Abbie Gardner and Paula Cole.  I’ll no doubt be making an appearance onstage that evening as well.

I sincerely hope you’re having a great start to the warm season, and that our paths cross very soon.  Humanity and humility, and then reach out and touch somebody’s hand.

It’s been some time since we’ve updated the site with news; how are we doing?  Breaking news occurs daily!  My DC/Virginia roots have me reeling with what’s going on both in Congress and in the Virginia statehouse.  Whether you are glued to the television, out advocating, or holding your hands to your ears, let’s hope we can all make sense of, and stay standing, throughout this tumultuous time in our country.

On the Blue Room front, we hope you’ll join us on Sunday March 3rd up in the City Winery Loft.  I’ll be curating a Night of Obsession.  Yes, I know a thing or two about that.  I’ll bet my ’57 Gibson Country Western you do too.  Hate those wankers who tell me to “snap out of it!”  Guests on the night include (so far) Cindy Mizelle, Russ Valazquez, Frank Simms, Terry Radigan, James Maddock, Eugene Ruffalo, John McCurry, Gary Schreiner.  Let’s see who else I can cram on the stage.

We’ve begun work on two new records:  New songs written over the last year, and a collection of my favorite Cole Porter songs, given Americana instrumentation and love. Cole, the ultimate obsessive American songwriter.  Passion, desire, wit, trouble…

I hope you’ll also join me and several other amazing artists for a wonderful festival in May at the Schimmel Center at Pace University.  This is the Crossing Bridges Music Fest, celebrating American songwriters and roots music performers.  This is a 2-day festival curated by the multi-talented producer/performer Paul Guzzone, and will take place on May 10th and 11th. I am proud to participate in this festival with Paula Cole, Dom Flemons, Vance Gilbert, The Kennedys, Abbie Gardner, Adam Ezra Group, and Jonathan Coulton.  Visit for tickets and information.

Please visit us at for information on other shows, to purchase music, and to say hello.

Thank you for keeping the faith, for keeping the arts alive, for staying strong and staying engaged in these challenging times.  If you’re having a hard time, remind those close to you that you need some help.  We all need help, and we all need to offer it too.

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We had a truly amazing night at City Winery Loft in late October.  All were on hand for a night we shared with our friends in Vicki Kristina Barcelona.  Special thanks to James Maddock for joining me on a duet of Petty’s Learning to Fly.  And to all extraordinary Blue Room musicians involved in the show:  Jeremy Beck on piano, Larry Saltzman on guitar/mando/banjo, Richard Hammond on bass, Frank Vilardi on drums, Angela Reed on vocals, Gary Schreiner on chromatic, Ben Stivers on piano, Rob Killenberger on sound.  We loved the room, and y’all filled it to the rafters! We’re grateful for every one of you.

We’ve begun work on two new collections of music: original material you’ve been hearing on the shows, and a collection of my favorite Cole Porter songs, treated with an Americana twist.  We’re very excited to be developing these projects for our fans, with the trusted mixing hand of Michael Golub.

See you at Barbes on Nov 28th for the Bushwick Book Club’s monthly installment.  This month we’ve read the Sleepwalker’s Guide To Dancing, by Mira Jacob.  I’ll be performing the song that sprung from me after this great but challenging read. Young lovers doomed…ghosts returning to reclaim lost time.

It was a fantastic month for us.  Rockwood Music Hall, always home to us.  The trio experiment was a joy, and guest songs from Angela Reed, Jeremy Beck, and Shannon Conley, plus my buddy Eugene Ruffolo sharing vocals with me on a new duet.  I premiered a new song at the piano written on my friend Rob’s 1910 Spinet. A delight.

Then it was off to DC to play 3 nights opening for our friends to Bacon Brothers at my hometown venue, the grand Birchmere, where Americana thrives.  Such a beautiful weekend with fans, friends, and family.  The boys offered us an extra night up in Albany at the Egg, NY State Theater.  I can only say that folks up there are earnest and fun loving, and I had a great visit after our set talking music and local gossip and signing CDs.  What a nurturing scene.

It’s time for some writing, before going to Europe for some masterclasses in Rome at the end of August.  Then 3 days in Dublin to soak up some crooning before starting fall gigs and recording new music.  Have a great month, one and all, and thank you for staying engaged.

We had such a great afternoon at City Winery NYC on April 15th.  Our Urban Americana Tax Day Party brought together friends new and old, special guests Tookes, Freedy Johnston, Ben Stivers, and Darryl Tookes, and you! City Winery has been welcoming and enthusiastic and we will see you there in the fall!

Janie Barnett & BlueRoom

In May I had the pleasure of joining my pal Patty Larkin, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, at the Homegrown Coffeehouse in Needham, Mass.  It was a very special reunion for us, and the sold out crowd was absolutely wonderful.


We’ll be taking some time to make plans for the fall, and explore new outlets for the music, both live and recorded, and in July we’ll be heading to DC to play the Birchmere with our buddies the Bacon Brothers.  Look for a night at Rockwood Music Hall with a bevy of friends and collaborations.

Until then, we send you happy spring greetings and hope for good communion.

This is a fascinating in-depth conversation between Janie and Christian Howes, for his platform Creative Strings.  Christian is a brilliant musician and mentor to countless emerging artists, and a very thoughtful navigator of the issues that all creative people  encounter.  Enjoy the podcast of their conversation here!

We are thrilled the new video for “Sweet Thursday” premiered in late February on the all-things-Americana site Mother Church Pew.   Thank you to Susan Hubbard for your excitement and support.  Please check out the video – we hope it will put a smile on your face! And all y’all should check out this great site for Americana music makers and music lovers.

From the site:

Virginia native Janie Barnett cut her teeth on bluegrass festivals, church coffeehouses, and the American Folklife Festival.  When she met iconic Americana barnstormer and newgrass pioneer John Hartford at Folklife, so began her love affair with the alternate roots movement. Always dancing along outside-of-the-box boundaries, Barnett found her place in New York City, making a name for herself as a smart, precise, and professional chameleon musician, singing on countless film, television, and commercial projects, as well as singing backup for iconic stars like Linda Ronstadt, Celine Dion, and Rickie Lee Jones.

Barnett has released several collections of music through the years but felt none had fully captured her authentic voice as a writer or musician; her latest album, You See This River, is the culmination of Barnett’s years of searching and exploring, and living a life that many of us find ourselves living.

Today, she unveils the video for album track “Sweet Thursday,” an homage to two of her favorite creations—Steinbeck’s wonderful little novel of the same name, and its companion novel, Canary Row.  “The stories are whimsical, full of love and street heroes,” she explains. “The music is a tribute to Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon.’ That lilting piece of perfection is so simple, like a love story to all the small notes of music that can make life sweet.” The video features footage captured on cell phones and reflects these sentiments—the sweetness of life in the everyday moments, spending time connecting with friends and loved ones over wine and music and plenty of laughter. “In this life,” she says, “we get to choose our friends.”

Without further ado, Mother Church Pew proudly presents “Sweet Thursday,” the new video from Janie Barnett ft. Blue Room: