Modern day voice and guitar man Barns Courtney is on an excitingly unexpected journey.
His first track ‘Glitter & Gold’ was dropped unceremoniously on Soundcloud in September, where, with its hybrid of gospel-blues, Westerns soundtrack, the marching hip hop of Kanye’s ‘Jesus Walks’, and Barns’ honey & sand delivery, it charged out of the gate with over forty thousand plays on Soundcloud and an addition to the BBC Introducing Playlist.
Another track ‘Fire’ – a raucous blues rocker as big sounding as the Western frontier and as catchy as the subject of its title – had something of an unforeseen leg up. Originally set for modest release in the new year, an early version of the track caught the ears of Hollywood mega producer Harvey Weinstein who plucked it out of thousands of songs to feature it as the main song on the Bradley Cooper-starring feature film ‘Burnt’.
Indirect paths can be traced all the way through Courtney’s backstory. Born in Ipswich, he spent most of his childhood living in Seattle before returning to his native UK aged 15. This change of scenery comes across as clearly in his eclectic mix of US blues-rock, hip-hop and grunge with British indie melodic sensibilities, as it does in his hybrid US-British twang. Following several aborted musical projects straight out of school, searching for his identity as artist and performer, it was Carl Barat who would give him a newfound break. Coming across the radar of his guitar hero from The Libertines, the two ended up writing and recording together.
The past few months have seen Courtney winning over fans in person when opening for his hometown acquaintance Ed Sheeran on his North American tour, supporting the aforementioned Libertines as well as bringing his ecstatic one-man acoustic guitar assault to small London venues.
With a debut album in the works for 2017, an almost accidental global launch via a major feature film, early fans clambering for the identity of the unheralded yet fiery opener for Ed Sheeran and The Libertines, you should definitely keep your eyes on Barns Courtney.