The Travelin’ Hillbillies

The Travelin’ Hilllbillies make their home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Their sound, heavily influenced by the folk rock sounds of Jerry Garcia, this four piece ensemble craftfully blends the grittiness of southern rock with the traditions of bluegrass, folk and country, along with just the right rock and roll lick or two thrown in for good measure.

Daniel Barnett is, as he calls it, “the brother from another mother,” to the sibling trio of Ryan, Shay, and Brandon Garst. Although only together a little over four years, they have managed to notch several hundred performances, record two CDs, and rub shoulders with some if the industries top performers, like The Hackensaw Boys, Sam Bush, and Del McCoury. Their current CD in circulation is titled Blue Skies. I caught up with Daniel just a day after their recording session for their next (untitled) single.

“We are finally finding our sound,” Daniel told me. “Although we are from such different musical backgrounds, we all do enjoy some common artists which tend to be the influence we draw from. Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, and other southern rock bands is what we migrate to. One of our friends told us that if we could figure out what we’re not going to play, we’d be able to put a genre’ on ourselves,” he laughed. “We just like to play really good music; whether it is acoustic or electric, or whether it’s bluegrass, or rock, or soul. Americana is the best way to put it,” he quipped. “We just like to have a good time with really good music.”

While the The Travelin’ Hillbillies enjoy playing a good cover tune, their goal is to really focus on original music. “We want to be known as an original band that is putting original music out there. We’re starting to really find our authentic sound and get in our own personal groove, and we want to capitalize on that,” Daniel said. “Ryan writes a lot of our tunes, but it’s always a group effort. We really all feel like a family and it’s nice to treat the songwriting process that way too.”

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