Barry Chern has been studying and performing American roots music for several decades, since his early teens. While some may have been raised by wolves, you could say Barry was raised by a record player. His major focus is the music of the early blues pioneers such as Charlie Patton, Mississippi John Hurt and Sleepy John Estes, and Old-time country songs from recordings by musicians such as Charley Poole, Riley Puckett and Blind Alfred Reed. His repertoire also includes excursions into more recent blues and country styles, old pop songs, and some unique originals.
Barry Chern's performance features powerful bare-fingered acoustic guitar and heart-felt vocals, and he also plays mandolin, harmonica, piano and, occasionally, some clarinet. He embraces, through deep listening, the entire spectrum of American musical history and transmutes it into a unique personal voice.
Barry has performed solo since the mid '60's, with intermittant excursions into varied group formats. In high school there was a brief early attempt at an electric blues band, followed by the longer lived No Exit Jug Band. In the '70's he often fronted loose groups of musicians from many disciplines under the name Barry and the Cherniaks. There were some side-tracks into recreational rock & roll (How Could You Boys, The Cockroaches) and, in the '90s, an acoustic trio with fiddle and bass called The FoolHarmonic. In the 21st Century, he has been working with an all-star ensemble with rhythm section, not frequently but tenaciously weaving a thread through the years. Most recently, this group has appeared under the monicker Chern's Noble New Clear Band.
In 1996-97 Barry Chern programmed and appeared at the Roots Cabaret at Columbus Music Hall, a monthly concert series featuring traditional music which he created to provide a venue for music that was otherwise not often heard in Columbus. Other recent area appearances have included the Central Ohio Folk Festival, Borders Bookstore, The Columbus Arts Festival, The Worthington Folklife Festival, The Community Festival, Stache's, various retirement homes, and a number of on-air concerts on Public Radio station WCBE on shows including Kids' Sundae, Global Village and Folkcetera. In recent years he has been the opening act for performers including Loudon Wainright III, Pierce Pettis, Ruth and Kane, J. J. Cale, Michael Hurley, John Stewart and David Lindley.
He was one of the nominees in the Best Blues/R&B Instrumentalist category in the 1995 Columbus Music Awards and was the winner in the Solo/Duo category of the 2004 Columbus Blues Alliance Blues Challenge, representing the city at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. He also plays old-time string band music at the Ohio Village, as well as at Civil War Balls and private events with the groups Turkeys in the Straw and the Tri-County Revelers.
Barry further shares his historical and technical knowledge giving private music lessons.
Chern is also a fine-art printmaker, whose lithographs have had widespread exhibitions and honors.
2691 Hibbert Ave. Columbus, OH 43202