Roddy Barnes was born in 1963 in Blanchard, Iowa, a small rural farm town of around 100 people. His parents, Kenneth and Carol Barnes, were pig and grain farmers and some of Roddy's first memories were of many hours in the bean fields, pulling weeds. To amuse himself, Roddy would make up songs as he worked - the start to his musical creativity.
His first musical influence was church. Roddy's parents had an old upright and at age four, he began picking out hymns. Singing was also a strong passion and his first solo, "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam," he performed at age five. His first music gig came at age 15 where he played and sang in a local hotel, "The Walnut Inn" in Tarkio, Missouri.
In high school, he was awarded Musician of the Year three consecutive years, the Chopin Award and the John Philip Sousa Award both two years straight, was a member of district and state band and district chorus. He received #1 ratings at the state level on solo piano, trumpet, and voice. In 1979 as a high school sophomore, he was accepted into the the United States Collegiate Wind Band which performed in New York, England, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France.
In 1981 Roddy was awarded full scholarships to both Missouri Western State College and Kansas University. He chose MWSC. While in college, he studied classical piano, trumpet, voice, composition and theory. As a composer, he wrote an original score for "Death of a Salesman" performed at the Missouri Repertory Theatre. He also composed music for a commercial about safe sex and scored a short film. He was awarded a grant to the Aspen Music Festival where he studied under world-renowned pianist Rita Sloan-Gottlieb.
After receiving his B.A. in Classical Performance in 1988, he was awarded a scholarship to study in France under Francois Rene Duchable. While in France, he performed in blues clubs in several French cities. He was featured in a French paper called "Le Dauphine" where, it read "(he) has conquered by his talent all the music lovers of the city of the Ducs."
In 1990, Roddy applied for, and received, a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Along with his studies, he performed blues throughout the city. Roddy returned to the midwest in 1992 and recorded his first album, "Roll with the Punches," in Kansas City, MO.
New Orleans lured him south where he was able to perform 10 gigs a week. Some of the more notable venues were Tipitinas, Maxwells Toulouse Cabaret, and The Common Ground. While in New Orleans, he recorded three more CDs -- "Unseen," "Betrayed," and "Blues Boogie and Soul." From his "Betrayed" CD, his composition, "Because of You," was recorded by the international blues act, Saffire - The Uppity Blues Women, on Alligator Records.
To advance his career, Roddy moved to Austin, Texas in 1996. He was a monthly feature on John Aielli's "Ecclecticos" on KUT radio showcasing his original songs. He also recorded his 5th CD, "Broken Wing." From this CD, another of his compositions, "Let the Gin Do the Talking," was covered by Saffire.
2004 finds Roddy in Richmond, Virginia, to collaborate with other artists. Two songs from his 6th CD, "Ballads and Barrooms," are being covered by blues artist Ann Rabson on her solo recording. (Ann is a founding member of Saffire.) The Saffire connection continues as Roddy works with another founding member, Gaye Adegbalola, performing classic blues - blues mainly from the 20's and 30's by divas such as Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter and Ma Rainey. Further, Roddy works with Filipe Rose (the Indian of the Village People) doing musical compositions, arrangements and accompaniment. He also continues to perform solo.
In 2007,Roddy wrote original music and lyrics for an adaptation of The Velveteen Rabbit (adapted by KB Saine), which was performed at Sycamore Rouge in Petersburg VA.