The Barn Owls are an old-timey, country trio from Seattle. One late summer evening, Brittany Newell, Hanna Traynham and Kate Lichtenstein spent hours trading tunes around the woodstove. By the end of the night, they were a band. The Barn Owls bring an intuitive and inventive bent to the old-time and early country music tradition, mixing high energy dance tunes with tight three-part harmonies on traditional and original songs. More recently, Katy Harris has joined the Barn Owls on upright bass. Her solid rhythm propels the band’s sound into fantastic dance music and her voice exemplifies the multi-part harmonies that the Barn Owls love to sing!
Brittany grew up playing classical violin and piano, and early on learned to appreciate the intricacy of old melodies. Stylistically influenced by ballads and heartfelt songs steeped in the last century, she loves to weave straight traditional tunes into heartbreaking journeys. Mathematics and orchestra teacher by day, Brittany gets inspiration from her students, friends and the Seattle community of old time music lovers.
Hanna calls the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia her home. Having grown up listening to the sweet harmonies of her parents’ old time duet singing, she developed an affinity for the coarse rhythms and unrefined quality of the music specific to the Southwestern Virginia region. Hanna’s distinct Appalachian clawhammer banjo style will transport you to a Mt Airy Fiddler’s Convention campsite – 2am, stars a-shining. While Hanna’s roots remain deep, she loves living and playing old time music in the beautiful Northwest. She is currently located in Portland, Oregon teaching high school art and making her own ceramic work.
Kate was raised in musical family, learning piano at a young age and spending Saturday nights around the turntable instead of the TV. She is an intuitive musician who loves to learn through listening, having learned to sing hearing her mother harmonize to the radio. Kate’s guitar playing mostly follows in the old time tradition of solid rhythm and bass but isn’t afraid to take some improvisational turns. She loves writing lopey country songs and in addition to guitar began playing fiddle by accident while getting lost in an especially good jam session.
Katy moved from Bellingham, Washington to study watch making in Seattle. Her band the Hi-O Revelers with Devin Champlin is well-loved all along the West Coast. The Barn Owls are glad to have her!