Brantley’s Barnes bringing blues to July Jamz Thursday

Published 2:17 am Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Alabama Blues Hall of Famer Stanford Barnes said that even after traveling all over the nation playing with the great bluesmen like B.B. King, playing in Covington County is like coming home.

Barnes was booked for his first appearance at July Jamz by popular request from those who heard his performance at the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce Banquet in February.

Barnes has played in Covington County several times, making appearances at the Andalusia Country Club, as well as in Opp, Florala and even Laurel Hill.

“I am always beyond excited to play in Andalusia,” Barnes said. “In my earlier days, Andalusia was my hangout spot.”

Barnes has played with blues legend B.B. King and “almost everyone else” in the blues hall of fame.

“I wanted to have a foundation in music,” Barnes said. “And playing the blues is a way of life.”

Barnes said that Rual Jordan, Willy Charles Perry and a man he and his friends called “Jackie Boy” introduced him to blues music.

“I wanted to be exactly like them,” Barnes said. “All we knew how to do was play the blues.”

Even being such an experienced blues musician, Barnes still worked a 9 to 5 at the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in Montgomery.

“I knew that I wanted to have an income just in case playing music didn’t pay the bills,” Barnes said. “So I worked the V.A. hospital in Montgomery until I retired six years ago.”

Barnes said that being inducted into the Alabama Blues Hall of Fame last year has not made him feel any different, but he is very honored.

“I don’t feel any different, but it is great to bring my grandkids to the archives and let them see my name on a plaque,” Barnes said. “I am so honored to be among the likes of Nat King Cole, B.B. King and Hank Williams, though.”

When Barnes performs on Thursday he does not have a game plan on what style of music he will play.

“I play a variety of stuff,” Barnes said. “First I have to check the crowd whenever I get there and I’ll base my set on what I think the people will like.”

Since Barnes is a native of Brantley, he hopes that a lot of his hometown friends will come to hear him play Thursday.

“If they know I am playing, then they will be there,” Barnes said. “When I perform, I always get a special edge when I see a person that I know in the crowd, so hopefully some people from Brantley will come.”

Barnes turned 77, last November and doesn’t plan to stop performing any time soon.

“I won’t stop performing until I die,” Barnes said. “That is what B.B. King told me and I’ve taken it to heart. This is all I know.” Stanford Barnes and the Soulful Saints will take the July Jamz stage Thursday at 7 p.m. at Springdale. The entertainment begins at 6 p.m. with Jamal Curry.