Russ Barenberg

Last updated
Russ Barenberg
Russ Barenberg, 2008.jpg
Background information
Born (1950-10-08) October 8, 1950 (age 70)
Genres Bluegrass, traditional bluegrass
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Instruments Acoustic guitar, mandolin
Years active1970–present
Labels Rounder, Compass
Associated acts Country Cooking, Heartlands, Fiddle Fever, Jerry Douglas

Russ Barenberg (born October 8, 1950) is an American bluegrass musician.



Barenberg began playing guitar at age 13, taking lessons from Alan Miller, whose brother, John Miller, Barenberg would later play with. His style was heavily influenced by the flatpicking technique of Clarence White. He attended Cornell University and met Pete Wernick there in 1968. Together they joined to form Country Cooking, who released two albums of bluegrass before breaking up in 1975. [1]

In 1975 Barenberg briefly began playing electric guitar with a jazz rock group, Carried Away. Late in 1975 he quit playing music, but returned in 1977, moving to New York City to play in the group Heartlands. This group also played backup on Barenberg's debut solo effort, Cowboy Calypso, in 1980. He then moved to Boston, teaching at the Music Emporium in Cambridge. Here he played in the groups Fiddle Fever and Laughing Hands.

In 1986 Barenberg moved to Nashville, where he has played often with Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer and Maura O'Connell, and done much work as a session musician with Béla Fleck, Hazel Dickens, Mel Tillis, and Randy Travis, among others. He has released several instructional videos. [2]

"Russ Barenberg is one of the most melodic instrumentalists and composers in contemporary bluegrass and acoustic music. Best known for his own unique style of flatpicking, Barenberg often uses his other three fingers to enhance rhythm and melody and create a more textural sensitivity." [3]

In 2007, his song "Little Monk" was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Country Instrumental Performance. [4] Since 1995 he has been a member of the house band for the Transatlantic Sessions television programs on the BBC.


Solo albums


With Country Cooking

With Jerry Douglas and Edgar Meyer

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  1. "Russ Barenberg Biography".
  2. "Russ Barenberg Bio".
  3. "Russ Barenberg Biography". iTunes.
  4. "2008 Grammy Nominations". CMT.