The Sensational Barnes Brothers are a melting pot of the old and the new. As Pop Matters states, “The brothers run through a spectrum of moods and modes in their gospel soul, often bridging the gap between, say, the Soul Stirrers and Stax, all the while keeping a local flavor.” The brothers are able to dive deep into their roots, creating a sound that reflects the music of their history, all the while drawing in a modern-day audience.
From playing in their family living room to recording their first album from a legendary 1970s catalog, The Sensational Barnes Brothers have created a place for themselves in the music industry. “We performed a lot,” recalls Courtney. “In our performances, my mom and dad would do the first section. They would sing, and we would be the background. Then in the next set it flipped over to where the children would do our thing, and that would be the Barnes Family concert.” Before the release of their debut album, the brothers solidified their role as musicians by working with legends of soul and R&B as well as modern day award winning artists.
Family was and is a huge part of the creation of The Sensational Barnes Brothers. Their father Calvin “Duke” Barnes made his way through the world with his beloved wife Deborah who was the daughter of Rev. James L. Gleese, who founded the Beale Street Mission for Blacks/Negroes, and music came to her even more naturally. For a time, Deborah was a Raelette, one of the background singers for the genius of soul, before love, marriage and children demanded that she leave the touring life behind.
The family carried on as musical collaborators for years and still play and sing together, even with their father gone. In 2015, the family released an album, Family Tree before Chris and Courtney began The Sensational Barnes Brothers as a duo.
For a time, Courtney played with a rock band chiefly influenced by Disturbed and Dream Theater. The brothers were then featured as background vocalists on Don Bryant’s Grammy nominated album Don't Give Up on Love. Now he and Chris, on drums, percussion, and vocals, front Black Cream, which is the perfect blend of funk, soul, and r&b with Gospel tinges. Chris has also joined longtime singer and performer Larry Dodson, former lead of the Bar Kays, in the launch of his solo career. More recently, The Sensational Barnes Brothers have recorded with Latin Grammy nominated Making Movies as well as lead singer of The Black Keys, Dan Auerbach.
Now, as the Sensational Barnes Brothers, they are bringing it all back home to music they grew up with. The Sensational Barnes Brothers recorded their first album under the Bible and Tire Recording Co., a first for the label as well as the brothers. This first album, produced by Bruce Watson of Bible and Tire Recording Co./Big Legal Mess Records at Delta-Sonic Studios in Memphis. Songs from the album were chosen from the 1970 catalog of the Designer Records label, but the original recording reminded the brothers of their late father Calvin “Duke” Barnes, that it could have been written by the Barnes Family themselves. Inspired by their shared past, fueled by harmonies that resonate with both their blood and their kindred souls, The Sensational Barnes Brothers see themselves singing, playing, and dancing for a long time coming.