June 30 is a special day for Don Barnes, lead singer of 38 Special. More than 30 years ago, he completed his first solo album, but the album did not hit stores until the last day of June 2018.
Don Barnes and the other members of 38 Special will be performing songs from that album, “Ride the Storm,” as well as a medley of original hits and fan favorites during Sherman’s annual “Lights on the Lake” event on Tuesday evening at Pecan Grove Park.
Known for songs like “Hold On Loosely,” “Rockin’ Into the Night,” “Caught Up in You,” “Fantasy Girl,” “If I’d Been the One,” “Back Where You Belong,” “Chain Lightnin’” and “Second Chance,” 38 Special has had 12 albums with many Top 40 hits.
The band is made up of guitarist and vocalist Danny Chauncey, bassist Barry Dunaway, drummer Gary Moffat, keyboardist and vocalist Bobby Capps, and Barnes is the lead singer.
Barnes recently answered some questions about the group’s upcoming show.
Q: Let’s talk about Ride the Storm. How long had it been since you last heard it? What was it like listening again to the album and making plans for its release?
A: I enjoyed it years ago, but in this business, you have to have tough skin. The record label was sold before I could get a release date. It was mixed and mastered and everything. It became a lost album.
My son had taken it and a few of the tracks ended up getting leaked. Well, a guy from Australia heard it and was like, “We have to release this.” Keith Urban and others who did not have big names then but have big names now, played on it. But, it turns out that we had the only copy of it. The record label had destroyed the masters.
When I got a release date for the album, I had to crack open a bottle of wine. The record is so fresh. We had it remastered and did some demos. It is being sold as two CDs, one with a rock kind of mix to the songs and the other with a more radio mix.
Q: Will we potentially be hearing songs from the album during your performance in Sherman?
A: We have three that are in the show. The songs just meld so well with all of our’s together. Martin Briley produced several tracks on it because I wanted to get out of the southern influence. It’s a great time because he give it a British influence.
I have talked with a lot of people over the years and they said they would be depressed if they had been in this situation with the record label. Making the record was about two and a half years of my life. I had hand picked all of the artists to play on it. They were some great stellar artists and players. I was very enthusiastic about it, but everything changed with the label being sold. It was a lot of frustration, but it’s great that it is being released now.
Q: If you could take one song from this album and remix it with any artist dead or alive, what song would you choose and who would you pick?
A: Gavin DeGraw. I love up tempo blues. I love artists that know and understand how to live in the space between the beat. Blues has a lot of groove in it. Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, Carlos Montoya and artists like that. I like “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars. I love music that is all about minimalism and living in the air. It’s about taking your time and being truthful to the music.
Q: Over the last 40 years, as a group 38 Special has seen a lot of changes in the music industry. Tell me about what keeps you going and what keeps you excited about touring?
A: This is the greatest job in the world. I love embracing the guitar. You feel like you can crank the guitar to 10 and be 18 again. We have seen a lot of changes and downfalls. Live shows are the thing now.
It’s really the opposite from how it was in the past. Now, people buy music on Amazon and iTunes. Live shows cannot be downloaded. We are fortunate. We have 16 Top 40 hits. We have a medley of people’s favorite songs and of everything else. It really gets the crowd excited and draws a lot of people to the show. We have a really bombastic finish.
We are just a brotherhood of neighborhood boys. We have a lot of struggle and we had to work really hard to get in the door. I would challenge anyone to get a song on the radio for one day. It’s so hard. We are so blessed to have seen it all. Live shows are our forte and they always have been and it shows. We are fortunate to have won at the game. It’s a ride. We generally save “Hold on Loosely” for the end.
Q: This performance is at a Fourth of July themed community festival. Tell me how it feels when you see entire families enjoying your music from the youngest who might not have been alive when you first started to the oldest who remembers when these songs first came out.
A: We see a cross section of fans. There are kids giving high fives during our shows and then we see people in tears because it reminds them of a relationship that ended or someone that they have lost in their life. We generally see an instant reaction when we start playing.
It also reminds us of when we were watching Led Zeppelin performing at 16. Everyone on stage was a boy with a dream. We want to keep that fire going. There are plenty of groups that it did not happen to. I encourage young guys all the time to do it because of the passion. We appreciate it and want to continue to do it because of the passion.
Q: What would you like people to be saying about you after your performance?
A: We want this to be an escape for people. We appreciate people so much for coming out. By the end of the hour and a half, we want them to be cheering. What we have ready will take them on a ride. We appreciate them coming out. It takes a lot to be able to come out to an event. You may have had to work that day. You may have to get a babysitter. You have to plan and prepare so it is satisfying when people come out and then they want to come back again. We love the easily unforgettable songs. That’s all I ever wanted to do. Thank you for being here with us all along the way.