Barry Osborne


Join Denver singer-songwriter and banjo player Barry Osborne in Quinlan Cafe at Swallow Hill Music on Thursday, October 3 at 7:30 p.m. as he presents the live premiere of his song cycle What A Fool Might Suggest.

“What a Fool Might Suggest is storytelling through folk music. It’s the tale of two Depression-era strangers who come together and briefly take on the world as they try to figure out their lives.” Barry says. “There’s some magical realism and some hard truths.”

Olivia Shaw, well known in Denver for playing in bands like Avenhart, joins him on fiddle. Guitarist Yoni Fine has played music with Barry off and on over the last few years. Niki Tredinnick, who plays in Denver band The Dollhouse Thieves, is joining in on vocals.

"Olivia, Yoni, and Niki are all inventive musicians who’ve shown a great feel for these songs. Plus, they’re just a lot of fun to play with. I can’t believe I get to play with them and witness the incredible energy they bring to these songs firsthand."

Of the 16-song cycle Barry says "I wanted to create a world to explore - do some myth making. I read a poem by Lorrine Niedecker about two folks named "Jim Poor" and "Poor Jay" - I decided to fill in their story."

"Since it's a Depression-era poem from Wisconsin, I started there. I have family from not far from where Niedecker lived, they were dairy farmers. I started mixing in family lore and took further inspiration from tall tales, and WPA and other art of the era to create the songs."

“There is definitely a story there, and characters, but it’s loosely structured to keep it open to interpretation for each listener.”

“I’ve always admired albums like The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society or R.E.M.’s Fables of the Reconstruction for creating worlds that blur the line between fact and fiction, and for leaving things a bit unresolved,” he adds.

In the fall of 2018 Barry released his debut EP, Back of the Title Page. In its review, Marquee Magazine wrote, "With the same whimsical irreverence of John Hartford, Denver’s Barry Osborne takes the old-time clawhammer sound and blends it with his influences of early 1980s college rock." He played Denver’s Underground Music Showcase in 2018, and will do so again in 2019. This spring he was nominated for a Westword Music Award in the Folk/Bluegrass category.

Come all and sundry at the hour’s expense, and follow for once what a fool might suggest / For last night at this time while you slept nothing short of an entire lifetime was spent - go the song cycle’s opening lines.

“Come on out to Swallow Hill on Thursday, October 3,” Barry says. “We can spend a lifetime together in song.”



The Laughing Goat in Boulder, Barry Osborne, Tuesday, September 17, 8pm

Quinlan Cafe at Swallow Hill Music, Barry Osborne featuring Olivia Shaw, Yoni Fine & Niki Tredinnick, Thursday, October 3, 7:30p


The UMS, Barry Osborne, Friday, July 26 - Sunday, July 28

Mutiny Information Cafe, Hooper, Slynger, Disinherited, Fables of the Fall, Barry Osborne, Saturday, May 4, 7pm

Riverwest Public House in Milwaukee, The Falderals and Barry Osborne, Saturday, April 20, 8-10pm

Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse in Madison, The Falderals and Barry Osborne, Friday, April 19, 8-10pm

Finnish Bistro in Saint Paul, The Falderals and Barry Osborne, Thursday, April 18, 6:30-8:30pm

The Chimney Place, Thursday, March 7, 7pm

Mutiny Information Cafe, Wednesday, January 16, 6:30pm


Lion’s Lair, Tuesday, December 18, 8:30pm

Seventh Circle Music Collective, Thursday, November 29, 7pm

Tuft Theatre @ Swallow Hill Music, Barry Osborne and Marvel West, Saturday, September 29, 8-10pm

KGNU Kabaret, In-Studio Appearance, Tuesday, September 25, 7-8pm

The UMS @ Baere Brewing, Sunday, July 29, noon.