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Mandy Barnett – The Nashville Songbook: “Songs that Made Nashville Famous”

June 28, 20245:30 PM

Grand Ole Opry member Mandy Barnett, one of Nashville’s musical treasures who has showcased her mesmerizing voice on stages across the globe, started singing at 5 years old.

Doors – 5:30 pm
Show – 7:00 pm

Mandy Barnett

Grand Ole Opry member Mandy Barnett, one of Nashville’s musical treasures who has showcased her mesmerizing voice on stages across the globe, started singing at 5 years old. She has been singing since.

Barnett’s Style is rooted in classic Country and Pop crooning of iconic singers and timeless sounds. She delves into a song with keen interpretive sense, getting right down to its emotional core and rendering a powerful performance through her “pipes of steel” (Los Angeles Times). As one record executive put it, “Mandy Barnett is a song’s best friend.”

She first gained national prominence as the original star of one of the first “jukebox” musicals, Always…Patsy Cline at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium. Barnett, as Cline, performs on the original cast soundtrack album and is the only actress to have played the role on the historic Ryman stage where Cline’s legend began. These shows sold out nightly and received rave reviews.

Mandy’s critically lauded albums include I’ve Got a Right to Cry, named “Top Country Album” by Rolling Stone in the year of its release and produced by renowned Nashville Sound pioneer Owen Bradley (who also produced Loretta Lynn, Benda Lee and k.d. lang). Rolling Stone continued to honor this album, placing it in 2019 on two “Best Of” lists of seminal Country work.

With a string of acclaimed Country albums, such as her self-titled Warner Bros. debut, her Christmas celebration Winter Wonderland, the Cline-inspired Sweet Dreams and I Can’t Stop Loving You: The Songs of Don Gibson, there’s no doubt Barnett has mastered that genre and holds it dear to her heart. But Barnett is not one to be musically boxed in. Her 2018 Strange Conversation album, an Americana blend of roots, pop and R&B, includes a duet with John Hiatt and a soulful rendition of Neil Sedaka’s “My World Keeps Slipping Away” which Sedaka himself sent to Mandy to record. Hailed by AllMusic as the “richest record of her career” and the Philadelphia Inquirer listed Strange Conversations among the best Country/Roots albums of 2018.

As further testament to her diversity, Barnett sang on the SpongeBob SquarePants album, The Best Day Ever (sharing the spotlight with a disparate array of artists including Brian Wilson, Tommy Ramone and Flaco Jimenez) and often incorporates a Great American Songbook standard into her live shows. When asked about her favorite composer, Barnett’s as likely to cite Cole Porter or George Gershwin as she is Willy Nelson or Dolly Parton.

In fact, along the lines of highlighting Barnett’s range. Her 2020 album A Nashville Songbook, an album of multi-generational Pop and Country gems produced by Fred Mollin (Johnny Matthis, Kris Kristofferson, Jimmy Webb, etc), was inspired by Barnett’s popular “Nashville Songbook” live show.
Every Star Above, Barnett’s most recent album (also produced by Mollin), celebrates and reworks selections from Billie Holiday’s Lady In Satin, with original arrangements by the late legend Sammy Nestico. Variety magazine named Every Star Above one of the best albums of 2021.

Barnett is equally as comfortable on the Grand Ole Opry and stages with symphony orchestras, having recently performed solo concerts with the Nashville Symphony, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast highlighting her “Nashville Songbook” repertoire. Barnett made her New York City cabaret debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below in 2019 with an acoustic version of her “Nashville Songbook.”

Barnett’s music has been featured in many major film and television soundtracks (most recently, in The CW Network’s series “The Flash”), including projects starring Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Martin Sheen, Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Broderick, Sigourney Weaver, Ellen Burstyn and Bill Paxton. Besides soundtrack work, Barnett often contributes tracks to other types of musical compilations, and she has appeared on “The Tonight Show,” “The Late Show,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” PBS’s “Sessions at West 54th,” PBS’s “Bluegrass Underground,” and numerous other programs.

In 2020, Barnett came full circle with her East Tennessee roots. She joined a select group of music luminaries running the gamut from Johnny Cash to Taylor Swift in being honored by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development with a Tennessee Music Pathways marker. Erected in Barnett’s hometown, Crossville, the historic marker celebrates Barnett’s contributions in making Tennessee the “Soundtrack of America.”

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