We had the good fortune of connecting with Barry Osborne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Barry, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
This is a great but funny question to me because I am still trying to get comfortable with calling myself a creative person. If that sounds odd, I share that because I know I am not the only person who experiences this. For a large part of my adult life I carried with me a creative impulse that I suppressed because I felt that following a career in the arts, one that gave me the time and brain space to develop my creative voice, was impractical. By my late 30s, though, I realized denying who you are is an unhealthy way to live. I made a career change, from daily journalism to working in the Marketing Department at Swallow Hill Music. Working at Swallow Hill allowed me to meet, work with, and collaborate with working musicians and artists of many stripes. Getting to see how they worked inspired me. Working with creative people demystified things a bit, and as I learned from them, I realized I had a lot of life experience to share that they could draw from. I was able to find a supportive community of creative people who bolstered me in my musical pursuits. I was extremely fortunate and privileged to get to make my career change, something I remind myself of daily.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I play clawhammer banjo and sing in an indie folk band called Distance Walk. Though we’ve played with each other since 2019, Distance Walk is a new identity that reflects our rapidly evolving sound, one that came together after live music shutdown due to COVID-19. Our band played our last show at Mutiny Information Cafe in Denver a week before the city and state shutdown. As a band we kept collaborating, though. By June we had five songs to take into the studio, which they recorded over the summer at The Mousetrap Recording Studio in Denver. Our sound is equal parts folk, post punk, old time, and baroque. When asked to describe our sound, we the half jokingly calls it Bootgaze. A big challenge for this band were the obstacles presented by the necessary COVID-19 restrictions. At times it might have seemed like making music was frivolous, but it became a necessary antidote to the chaotic year that was 2020. I think we realized we could support each other by supporting each other creatively. Having the right team – the right band – can keep you going even when things look bleak. We are releasing our debut EP this February. In some ways it might seem odd to launch a band when so much of the music industry is in upheaval and we cannot even perform our songs live. On the other hand, there’s no longer a script to follow, there’s no longer a rule book to consult, so we can create our own reality, at least in our music.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I could think of an ideal day to show a friend around, I’d start off with record shopping at Twist & Shout Records, where I always walk in wanting one thing and walking out with something else. Then I’d recharge with some ice cream and caffeine from Smith+Canon Ice Cream co., their affogatos are amazing and a great pick me up any time of year. Then I’d take them to Clyfford Still Museum, a one of a kind place that any creative person would find inspiring. My daughter and I got to play a special concert there last spring, it was such a wonderful experience! Then I’d head down to South Broadway for (more) coffee and comics and pinball at Mutiny Information Cafe. Every great city needs a place to hang like Mutiny and we are very lucky to have them in Denver. For dinner I’d circle back for either Indian takeout from Saucy Bombay on Colfax, or the Mercury Cafe, you can’t go wrong with either. Each of these establishments plays a vital role in keeping Denver a dynamic and interesting place to live. My teenage daughter recently asked me if I could live anywhere at anytime, when and where would it be. She rolled her eyes when I said “Denver, today.” It’s true, though. this is a vibrant city with wonderful music and arts communities. We need to take care of each other and make sure it stays as accessible and welcome to as many of us as possible. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many folks I’d like to give a Shoutout to, but in this instance I’d like to hold up my friend and fellow songwriter Becky Hostetler. Becky fronts a band/performs as Bellhoss. She has a unique musical and artistic vision and she’s gone after that. Since things shut down in Denver last March due to COVID-19 restrictions, Becky has been a great friend and creative ally. Whenever I have an idea that seems a little wacky or too meta, she offers the right bit of encouragement and tells me to go for it. We all need those friends who give us a little shove when we need it. My bandmates, too, definitely deserve a Shoutout. We used this shutdown time to keep exploring our sound and come up with some really exciting new music. I’m not sure how I would have gotten through the last year without them, so Yoni, Niki, and Olivia – thank you!
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/5stringwhale/; https://www.instagram.com/distancewalk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barryosbornemusic; https://www.facebook.com/DistanceWalkMusic
Clyfford Still performance photo (solo) by Torch Media Clyfford Still performance photo w/ my daughter courtesy Clyfford Still Museum Colorado History Museum photo w/ John Denver cutout by Chris Getzan Picture of me holding banjo by me Distance Walk Sketch (since we can’t get together for a band photo) logo by Dan Herro, figure sketches by Hillary Barrett-Osborne Crow banjo pic by Meta Osborne