It is told that storytellers are their greatest when they write about what they know. Quartz Hill Records up and coming country artist Nate Barnes is no exception. The blue-collar power plant worker writes and sings about the work and the everyday life he is a part of in the small town of South Haven, Michigan. Barnes sings about God, family, hard-work, heartache, love and the simple kind of life. He also sings about how to get by and the blood, sweat and tears that get us there. The honestly which Barnes sings stories of the every-day life, working class Americans is sincere (because he is also one, too).
Barnes started working at only 13 years old, he helped at a youth camp. His work ethic was strongly inspired by his mom who had three jobs, as well as his stepdad who worked double duty at both the local power plant and on a blueberry farm to make ends meet. By 14, Barnes was working on roofs and building houses with his uncle. Then at 18, he started his stepdad’s footsteps, by receiving an entry level job at the power plant by cleaning toilets and driving buses. He worked his way up through the levels of manual labor- making scaffolding, pouring concrete, shoveling and digging trenches, putting down pipelines, and working on mechanical maintenance for sometimes 14 hours in one day, working in heavy suits, helmets, often times in high cold or heat.
During the long hours of manual labor, music was never far away from Barnes’ heart. The small-town boy and dreamer first started playing at church in sixth grade and later at parties and small gatherings. His mom would take him all over town and sit through each show. As time went on, Barnes started performing at bars and venues every night and weekends.
He was musically influenced by both of his grandparents; Barnes grew up singing with his family after Sunday dinners. Barnes and his family would join around his grandmother as she played hymns on the blues on the family piano. Barnes remembers how, after each session, his grandfather would sit in his recliner with blues on the radio and a western on TV while he amused his grandkids of stories about growing up and working in the fields in Tupelo, Mississippi.
When Barnes was 21, a close friend and mentor introduced him to the music and stories of Keith Whitley, George Strait, Alabama and Brooks & Dunn. As he dove more and more into the world of country music, he found out that these were the passages of his own life- the lessons he had learned, the individuals he had love, the sorrows he had tolerated – the stories speak in a way that felt like home.
Even though, he has spent many years playing bars, coffee shops, small venues and festivals in and close to his hometown, Barnes was discovered as result of a fluke, he met chart-topping songwriter Jason Sellers, while passing through Nashville on his way to vacation in Gatlinburg. A conversation led to a song and Sellers knew right away that he had met a true original musician. Sellers introduce Barnes to Benny and Paul Brown. Working with the Brown’s was the start of his country music career.
On October 30, 2020, Barnes newest single came out “You Ain’t Pretty.” If you would like to find out more Nate Barnes then check out his website (https://www.natebarnesmusic.com).
- Link of where to stream Nate Barnes’ latest single “You Ain’t Pretty”: ((https://orcd.co/nbyouaintpretty).