Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael Presents: Mandy Barnett – The Nashville Songbook
Friday, January 13 and Saturday, January 14
Doors 5:30 p.m., Start 7:30 p.m.
Feinstein’s Cabaret – Carmel, IN
$25 Food and Beverage minimum per guest
Join us for a very special evening with Mandy Barnett, recording artist, Grand Ole Opry member and “a torch singer in the grandest sense of the word” (Chicago Tribune), as she celebrates the Nashville Songbook and other personal favorites (from the Great American Songbook and more). The Nashville Songbook is a collection of standards that made Nashville famous — some of the most influential and iconic country and pop songs ever written, originally recorded by Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Tammy Wynette, Eddy Arnold and other luminaries. Barnett rolls seamlessly from heart-wrenching ballads to toe-tappers penned by legendary songwriters. It’s no accident that Barnett pays tribute to the Nashville Songbook. She grew up in East Tennessee and came to Nashville frequently as a child and teenager to perform. During that time, she met many fabled country and pop artists and tunesmiths, whom she now honors with her show.
Called the “Nashville Sound Chanteuse” (MusicRow) and “the Judy Garland of our time” (American Songwriter), Barnett has built a reputation for her commanding voice and unwavering devotion to standards in that sweet spot between country and pop. Barnett has enchanted listeners around the globe with her world-class vocals and her qualities as a musical chameleon. A Tennessee Music Pathways historical marker in Barnett’s hometown honors her contributions in making Tennessee the “Soundtrack of America.” Of this singer’s singer-songwriter’s dream and audience favorite, renowned songwriter-artist Jimmy Webb states simply, “Mandy Barnett has a voice for the ages.”
Variety magazine named Barnett’s most recent project, “Every Star Above,” one of the best albums of 2021. Arranged by the late maestro Sammy Nestico, “Every Star Above” showcases the repertoire featured on Billie Holiday’s “Lady In Satin.” Barnett also recently duetted with Great American Songbook Ambassador Michael Feinstein on his 2022 Gershwin Country album. Of Barnett, Feinstein says, “Few singers have the gifts inhabiting the soul of Mandy Barnett. Her blessed voice connects to the truth of every note she sings. She’s simply one of my favorite voices.”
Barnett first gained national notice as the original star of the jukebox musical “Always … Patsy Cline” at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium. She is the only actress to have played the role of Cline on the stage where Cline’s legend began. Her music has been featured in many major film and television soundtracks, including projects starring Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Martin Sheen, Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Broderick, Sigourney Weaver, Ellen Burstyn, Bill Paxton and SpongeBob SquarePants.
Purchase your tickets at feinsteinshc.com.
Janelle Morrison: We’re thrilled that you’re coming to Carmel, Indiana, and are helping to kick off a new year with an incredible show at Feinstein’s. Before we talk about that, share with me how you got into “the business” and about the support you got from your family and hometown.
Mandy Barnett: My mother recognized that I had musical ability when I was quite young and that I could sing in time, sing in tune and remember words and things like that. And then as time went on, she — and people in my family — started cultivating that [talent]. I had a perfect place to hone my skills because we went to a very supportive church that my great-great grandfather founded. So, I had built-in support and loving people who would let me go up every Sunday and sing. My aunt actually guilt-tripped me into singing a solo for the Easter program because I was quite shy. But I had such a great response that it gave me the courage and the initiative to keep doing it and to work through my shyness, insecurity and things like that. So, that’s how I got started, and then I did a lot of fairs, churches and political events. Back then, it wasn’t so ugly. You could actually sing at Democratic AND Republican events, and nobody would hate you.
JM: How old were you when you started recording?
MB: I ended up winning a contest when I was 10 years old at Dollywood. I worked there for a couple of summers and then I ended up getting a record deal with Universal Records when I was 12 years old and started out in Nashville. A very famous producer — James “Jimmy” Bowen, who ran Universal — he signed me. Jimmy produced Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and you name it. He came to Nashville and got into country music when things were starting to dry up in L.A. He ended up moving to Capital Records and took me with him. So, from 12 until about 18, I was with his label and worked on weekends. It gave me a really great opportunity to learn how to record and to try out material and new material. That experience was invaluable. I was working with James Taylor’s band when they would come to Nashville to do recording sessions with country artists. So, to be 14 years old and working with Leland Sklar and Carlos Vega — who were iconic then — was a great experience.
JM: You’ve had a plethora of mentors and influences. As you look back from where you are in your career, how invaluable are those to you?
MB: They were huge! I’m just very lucky that I got meet some of the people that I did, and the timing was just right. I got to meet some people like Owen Bradley, who produced Patsy Cline and Brenda Lee and some of my favorite [artists]. He was one of the most influential producers of all time. He and his brother [Harold] recorded a lot of music with Patsy and Brenda and were very pop-centric, even though they were doing it in Nashville. Patsy [Cline] was technically country, but they found the “sweet spot” between country and pop so that it could cross over. You didn’t necessarily have to be a country [music] fan to love Patsy Cline. To meet them and work with them was very important to me. I was from a small town in Tennessee and was worried that I wouldn’t necessarily be “authentic” singing jazz. I worried about that, but [Owen and Harold] encouraged me to keep going into it, and I’m so glad I did. I realized that most jazz singers are from the South as well and have roots in other types of music.
JM: What can you share with me about your upcoming shows at Feinstein’s?
MB: The show is called “The Nashville Songbook,” and I’ll be showcasing a lot of those great songs that I was talking about being in that “sweet spot” between country and pop. I’ll be combining some of those songs from the Great American Songbook — songs from Patsy Cline, The Everly Brothers, and Roy Orbison. And I recorded an album in 2021, which has been my biggest commercial success. It’s an album that I cut with Sammy Nestico and a 60-piece orchestra. All are songs from Billie Holiday’s “Lady in Satin.” I’ll be singing some of those songs as well, so it’s a combination of the great country standards, the Great American pop standards and some from the Billie Holiday record. I think it’s good to mix things up a little bit so that there’s peaks and valleys, so you don’t know what’s coming next. I kind of like that when I’m doing shows.